Monday, December 29, 2008

Well, It Looks Like the Outreach Team Read This Blog

If you take a look at, it looks like somebody on the Outreach Team read this blog and created a response to my comments about how nothing looked it had changed over on North Western Avenue.

It will be interesting to find out who the Outreach Team believes are 'community leaders' and other members of the community they want to be included in the future plans for the site.

It is also important and remarkable to note that they are going to ask for a continuance on the planned February 12 Planning Commission meeting.

I do find it refreshing that we can finally read acknowledgement from the Outreach Team that thinks are going to be quite different from former plans for the site and may include some completely different types of housing and an unknown amount of retail.

I do hope the Outreach Team and everyone else understands that members of R Neighborhoods Are 1 will want to be involved in helping to plan what may be at Ponte Vista.

Personally I am pleased that the management of the Development and the members of the Outreach Team have decided to put onto the Internet facts many of us have known for some time.

It is more proof positive that the old plans are long buried and new ideas and plans will be coming forward.

It would be nice to learn in the very near future that the application that was provided to the Planning Department for 1,950 units will be canceled and everything should begin anew, fresh, and with openness not seen by the Ponte Vista at San Pedro team.

This is a good thing but we all must help OUR community to find a solution that is best for everyone and do harm to nobody.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Odds and Ends 97

Hey! Have any of you taken a drive along Western Avenue this week?

Hey! Have any of you needed to visit Albertson's and Ralph's on Western this week?

Hey! Did you notice that about 98% of the parking spaces were filled near those two markets practically all day from Saturday through Wednesday?

Hey! Did you remember that the permanent population of humans at Ponte Vista at San Pedro is zero?

Hey! Shouldn't what we have had to go through on Western Avenue more recently suggest that the population living at Ponte Vista in the future be kept to the lowest possible number?

The Chevron Station on the corner of Western Avenue and Crestwood Street has FINALLY reopened. There doesn't seem to be anything to feed humans at the new market yet, but gas tanks can now be fed using brand new pumps.

So now between P.V. Drive North and 25th Street, along Western Avenue, there are now THREE filling stations. Oh boy!

Wait a minute, wait a minute, did you remember that since there are currently no permanent human residents living at Ponte Vista, there are no vehicles owned by residents of the project parked there, so none of the vehicles that aren't there do not need gas.

Have you visited or recently?

Apparently the misinformation continues on both sites and it looks like nothing has changed in any way because of recent developments.

For the Outreach Team, it seems they are not concerned with people who really believe a ruse is being attempted, MAY have more grounds to believe that.

The folks who are into conspiracies must be having a field day because the two sites have not acknowledge any change to what the former developer wants to build at the site.

It does give some circles pause to consider that believing, trusting the Outreach Team with just about anything, and the overall honesty of whatever organization is running things, may need to be questioned more.

Would you buy a place from an organization that won't even acknowledge the change at the top of the development team?

Did you happen to notice the Real Estate pullout in last Sunday's The Daily Breeze?

The entire front page and most of page two were taken up with advertisement/articles on 55+ condominium projects in the Torrance and Rolling Hills Estates area.

One of the ad/articles stated that is least expensive unit was priced under $300,000.

As an aside, the 55+ project on the corner of Sepulveda and Cabrillo (Yes I have placed it on the corner of Arlington too many times on this blog) has filled 44 of its 46 units and only 2 are advertised as being available.

Some of those units that are filled are because of purchase or leases. I think the remaining two units may be in the under $300,000 price range.

There are other condo development projects that have failed in Torrance and there are still plenty of age-restricted and non-age restricted condominiums available in Torrance AND San Pedro.

If you want the feel of living along Western Avenue without buying a condo, you can live your fantasies by leasing a unit at Seaport Homes on Fitness Drive and perhaps lease a unit that overlooks the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site and points north.


You've got em, I want em.

Let us have some fun and informative discussion about your predictions for the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site in 2009 and beyond.

Please think about what might happen in the coming months and years and let us find out what folks really will come to pass with the project.

I have already published my prediction and it is probably a fairly weak and safe one that uses information that is in the public domain. It doesn't match what I want to see, but I didn't really stretch out with it for something more interesting.

You can be as simple with your prediction or you can provide as many details as you can think of.

Because of the nature of your predictions, we can also learn whether you are like a growing number of people who think something is really amiss with the latest news about the 'former' developer and what may actually be going on.

For the predictions, I will ease up on my notion of not spreading rumors, but just with your predictions.

I may have my good friend Nudge McGurk provide a prediction.

Hey! Have you had problems traveling along Western Avenue lately?

I want to wish my wonderful Greek Orthodox neighbors a Merry Christmas coming up.

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year, both on January 1, 2009 and in February.

If you need resolutions to follow that are very easy to keep all year long, please go to: and look for the post with resolutions I have been keeping for years and years.

I am so good at keeping my predictions that I haven't needed to find a hanger for any spring wardrobe made out of chicken wire.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Destroyers Are Laying Down The Smokescreen

During WWII, naval vessels attempting to hide from their enemy produced thick smoke to screen the ships for either a getaway or to find a position to go on offense.

Reading the latest item from looks like a clear demonstration of a destroyer laying down a smokescreen, in my opinion.

First the item tells about the funding for the Automated Traffic and Surveillance and Control (ATSAC) system may be going away due to the State's economic condition.

Then the item proceeds to inform readers about the money that would be spent on mitigations IF a proposal somewhere near the large number of units the former developer wanted is approved of.

Now since it has been claimed that the development team has been changed, whether we really believe that or not, why should anyone expect anything like the former plans be approved?

To date, there has been absolutely nothing to suggest that anything is different on any site dealing with Ponte Vista and the Outreach Team.

I can certainly understand why so many folks believe that the change in development team members may be a ruse, but I really don't have any facts to back that up, to report.

Had you been reading their blog, you would have read that the former developer would not have been able to provide any traffic mitigation under the guidelines set by the Planning Department.

What makes anyone feel that more units that the guidelines suggest would be approved of ESPECIALLY since it appears that Councilwoman Janice Hahn supports those guidelines?

Actually, I am still continuing to stick to my personal belief that there will probably be up to 1,196 non-age restricted condominiums at Ponte Vista, even though I do not support that.

Having the density bonus applied would be a bad thing, but it allows any developer the option of building the most number of units the guidelines suggest and the costs of the 'low-income' units could be borne by the other units and Credit Suisse could probably juggle the books to allow for the overpricing of the land.

It is a wonder that we still see printed items as if nothing has changed. Perhaps somebody didn't get the memo from the Planning Department or they just feel they are so strong in city government they can push through just about anything they want.

Hey Outreach Team, the Moon is not really made of cheese, the Earth is not really flat, and the Yugo is no longer in production. Cary Grant never said, "Judy, Judy, Judy" in any movie.

There is no dialogue in any Sir Arthur Conan Doyle written work that had 'Sherlock Holmes' utter, "Elementary my dear Watson".

The female voice on the classic cartoon motion picture said, "Magic mirror on the wall.....", not "Mirror, mirror on the wall.....".

Absolutely no human filmed in the movie, "The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre" ever said, "We don't got no stinkin badges".

Its time to either reveal some real plans from whomever the developer may actually be, Ponte Vista at San Pedro Outreach Team, or stop attempting to pursuade gullible people into supporting a failed number of units.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Odds and Ends 96

A lot of information has been coming to me all week long and since the announcement was made about Credit Suisse removing Bob Bisno, has been troubling, weird, and questionable.

Whether information, conjecture, rumor, comments on the blogs, or comments received by directly talking to folks, one thing that I can report is there is quite a bit of skepticism about recent developments and issues surrounding Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

I'm still getting the feeling that Bob and others continue to create division within OUR community by not providing facts surrounding the recent events. This seems to allow many folks to wonder about how truthful information coming from the Outreach Team and even news sources is.

Several different rumors have come to me, but I am not going to deal with them without knowing what is really going on.

People are suspicious about Credit Suisse, the takeover, and what may come in the future.

Folks now representing the project currently seem tight-lipped about what is currently happening and what they may do in the near future.

This has led many folks to speculate that things were and are not as they seem to be.

I have my opinions about the future at Ponte Vista and they are that Credit Suisse may simply push forward with plans to build 1,196 non-age restricted condos on the sight, as soon as possible and not provide much in the way of amenities and mitigation.

This would be within the guidelines established by the Planning Department and the guidelines have seemingly found support with Councilwoman Hahn.

While I do not believe this is good for any of us, Ms. Hahn has repeatedly stated that she is tired of dealing with Bob and/or the project and I suspect she would use the guidelines provided by others to get the project approved and built.

My thinking is that Credit Suisse wants the monster off its books as soon as possible, too. Getting approval for the largest project size suggested by the guidelines and also providing 'low-income' housing via a density bonus, would also score points for the financial institution with government types in the city of L.A. (Tony Villar).

Since it also looks like Credit Suisse owns the paper for the purchase price for the land, it may be able to take some costs off as a write down or some other type of loss. This could generate either some tax savings or if Ponte Vista is bundled with lots of other projects that are turkeys for Credit Suisse, they may be able to go to Uncle Hank and get some money from all of us.

I don't know too many regular folk who knew back in 2005, when Bob did his deal, that things would have gotten as bad as they did. I also don't think Bob or anyone else could have known about the ability of the opposition to his schemes, and how strong the opposition became.

Let the rumor continue to fly and the ideas continue to come forth. Until we get some more true information about the project and its backers, we are only left to our imaginations and are willingness to try and learn more about things and dig deeper into fact-finding to find what is really going on.

I have found these last several weeks fascinating, albeit without much real information to pass along. I am disappointed that the whole thing continues to divide OUR community and I wish folks would care enough to provide their true ideas for what should be built on the site, whether it ever is or not.

Councilman Doug Stern of the cith of Rancho Palos Verdes sent this information out in Email form:

Update – Trump Gives RPV Christmas present -- Sues Rancho Palos Verdes Claiming Inverse Condemnation, etc.

Donald Trump apparently filed a $100 million lawsuit against the City of Rancho Palos Verdes on December 18, 2008. The Complaint lists 13 legal claims, including "Inverse Condemnation" (taking property without paying compensation), "Due Process," "Equal Protection," "Fraud," "Breach of Contract," "Unjust Enrichment," "Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage," and "Unfair Business Practices." It appears that the general basis for the 104 paragraph suit is Trump’s claim that he has been prevented from undertaking certain developments at the Trump National Golf Course which he desires.

The lawsuit alleges:

“[Trump] has a development plan for its [Trump National Golf Course] property. Besides improvements already in place, the plan includes the building of luxury homes and other improvements that are in keeping with the Trump image, and which will enhance the beauty and quality of life of the City. In accordance with its plan, [Trump] has been seeking to develop its properties in all of the following ways, among others:

a. By constructing 16 homes in the area now used as a driving range;
b. By constructing 4 homes landward from the existing clubhouse.
c. By constructing a terrace on the clubhouse.
d. By maintaining ficus trees on the property.”

Trump claims that he has sought permission to make these developments, but that permission has been denied, and those denials constitute violations of the Constitution. [These allegations are rather interesting, since RPV granted permission for him to place the terrace at the clubhouse years ago, but geological concerns have caused him to not pursue that project. Also, Trump chose to place a driving range in the area where he now claims he wants to place homes. The decision to change that area from residential use to a driving range was made by the Trump organization, not RPV.]

Trump also is displeased that RPV has required further geological review of a known landslide area on portions of the property following the devastating Ocean Trails landslide. That landslide, in June 1999, ultimately resulted in the Ocean Trails bankruptcy that led to Trump’s acquisition of the golf course from the Zuckerman family. He believes that he has been required to “spend millions of dollars on unnecessary, repetitive, unreasonable, and unlawful geologic and geotechnical studies and reviews,…” so as to violate his corporation’s Constitutional rights.

His suit complains that he has height restrictions on homes he builds which are not imposed on others.

All of this, the suit alleges, constitute inverse condemnation or regulatory taking under the United States and California Constitutions, as well as other legal wrongs.

Merry Christmas, from Donald Trump to the residents of Rancho Palos Verdes

The city of Rancho Palos Verdes also lost an appeal and now it must grant landowners of lots in the slide area, permits to build homes on those lots.

This was a more than silly court order and had the judge simply understood the physical problems of the lots, I am sure the appeal would have been won by the city.

In the Abalone Cove and Portuguese Bend slide areas, the lots are all moving towards the Pacific Ocean.

Case in point, the owners of lots on Cherry Hill lane probably bought those lots when Cherry Hill Lane was north of Palos Verdes Drive South.

Today, Cherry Hill Lane is south of Palos Verdes Drive South and is over land that was bought by folks south of Palos Verdes Drive South, decades ago.

Much of the land purchased close to the ocean in the slide area, decades ago, is currently IN the Pacific Ocean.

You lot is your lot where and when you bought it. If your lot moves, it may not necessarily be where you bought it and therefore it may be over someone else's lot. Should you pay rent on your land that is now sitting over the land owned by someone else?

Whether you want to build one house or many, sometimes a developer can do some fairly strange things.

Terri and I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanze, and Happy Festivus.

Our Holiday Letter is on Issues to Ponder and you may save it to your computer and send it out as your own next year.

Monday, December 15, 2008

San Pedro Today Magazine Coming

First I will start off with the informational Email from Mr. Joshua Stecker, the former publisher of San Pedro Magazine.

Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 8:22 AM

Subject: San Pedro Today Premieres in January!

**PLEASE FORWARD****PLEASE FORWARD TO EVERYONE**(Apologies if you receive this multiple times... because you probably will.)

Hi everyone, Well, the cat's out of the bag.

Yes, the Press-Telegram has quietly ceased publication of San Pedro Magazine, and in turn, I have been laid off.

Getting laid off is never fun or easy, but what's worse than me losing my job is watching the two newspapers that serve San Pedro officially abandoning our area. First it was MORE, now San Pedro Magazine.

Well, I wasn't going to sit idly by and let my hometown lose a magazine that was hugely popular, profitable, well-respected and incredibly fun to produce.

So, in good ole' San Pedro do-it-yourself fashion, I'm launching San Pedro Today, a new independently owned and operated monthly magazine serving my hometown of San Pedro.

Premiering the week of January 5, 2009, San Pedro Today will have the same great 30,000 copy circulation (still the largest circulated publication in San Pedro), free home delivery to homes and condos, the beautiful glossy cover and include all the great columnists and contributors who helped make the former publication the success it was.

I’m taking the best parts of what made San Pedro Magazine great and enhancing it with all the features I wanted to do but could never get done working for my former corporation.

Now that I independently own and operate San Pedro Today, I can finally give San Pedro the type of quality publication it has always deserved.

And talk about launching with a BANG! Our first issue will be a special commemorative issue featuring the San Pedro High School Football team celebrating their L.A. City Section (co-) Championship!

This premiere issue will feature a cover and story celebrating the exciting and historic 21-21 tie championship game between San Pedro and Narbonne High School. (I was there, it was an incredible game!)

It will also include a multiple-page photo spread chronicling the entire game, including photos of fans in the stands and candid on and off-the-field celebrations.

It will definitely be a highly sought after publication when it hits the streets. I'm excited to launch the new magazine leading with such an awesome hometown event.

In addition to our regular content, we're also accepting "SPHSFootball Pride" ads if anyone is interested in adding a personal ad congratulating our SPHS Pirates to our premiere issue.

All the information is at

On a personal note, I want to be very clear that my parting from the Press-Telegram was an amicable one. The situation that unfolded this past week was due to the incredible hardships facing the newspaper industry as a whole. I do not envy those in charge at the Press-Telegram, they have a huge mountain to climb and have to deal with a huge corporation that has completely lost focus of what it means to produce a quality local newspaper for the community.

It’s sad, really.

Newspapers are dying, but magazines are alive and kicking.

To all our current (and future) advertisers, thanks for shifting your support to San Pedro Today.

The transition will be painless. My former advertising representative from San Pedro Magazine, Patricia Roberts, has joined me on San Pedro Today and will be assisting you in the turnover process.

I’m also pleased to announce we’re LOWERING ADVERTISING RATES across the board for the new publication. Since we do not have to go through the corporate bureaucracy to get things done, our working experience should be much more fun and easy. We’re here to help you succeed.

Lastly, those who have worked with me and have known me through the former magazine know how much I love my hometown. I’m a fourth generation San Pedran and proud of it. When I got the news about the abrupt cancellation of San Pedro Magazine, without being able to produce one final issue to let everyone know, well... I wasn't going to let that happen.

So, San Pedro Today was born.

I hope you join me on what will be one incredible adventure!


P.S. Make sure when you visit that you subscribe to our email newsletter on the top right-side column. This way you won't miss out on all the new content we'll be producing. :)

P.P.S. (or is it P.S.S.?) Please forward this email to anyone you think would be interested.

Joshua Stecker
Editor, San Pedro Today

San Pedro Today contact information:

Phone: (310) 923-4084

Story Ideas/General Inquiries:


Event Announcements: events@sanpedrotoday.com______________________________________________

San Pedro Today is joining San Pedro News (see links above) as the two news operations providing information and resources specifically to San Pedro and I think it is great that Josh is going to produce a magazine with both a physical appearance and including an online edition.

I hope both Andrea and Josh can work with Jeromy Rogan at Rogue's Yarn and Diana Chapman at The Underdog For Kids, and other bloggers to produce the best coverage of events and news worthy items from all over the area.

We all come from different prospectives and having the online and print possibilities is wonderful.

San Pedro Today will be joining Random Lengths News focusing more on San Pedro than The Daily Breeze seems willing to do, using print formats.

I wish nothing but good luck and good fortune to Joshua Stecker, his writers, editors, advertisers, and everyone who subscribes to the new publication and has the chance to have it delivered to their driveway or door.

When Josh was running San Pedro Magazine, he sometimes felt there was too much negativity being offered for publication dealing with Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

He felt that there needed to be something published favoring the project. That is why he went to the Ponte Vista Outreach Team and asked for something from a supporter to put into the Magazine.

We now get to wonder how Mr. Stecker will be dealing with the future of the site and the project.
It has been shown by more than a few sources that the plans laid out by the former developer were not in the best interest of San Pedro and San Pedrans.

I hope Mr. Stecker will follow the future activities and proceedings very closely and have his reporters and editors deal with Ponte Vista to help provide the best outcome possible for OUR community.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Addendum to Odds and Ends 95

Please visit if you wish to learn about an upcoming hearing dealing with the Marymount College Expansion Project.

The project has a very little bit to do with and near the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site.

On a related issue, when the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council changed the number of members on their Traffic Safety Commission from seven members to five members, I was not reappointed to the Commission.

Two current members are being joined by three new members. I do not know if any of the three new members live on the east side of R.P.V.

I think I did my job well on the Commission as I joined it to focus on Ponte Vista and eastern Rancho Palos Verdes. I got may name out there and my positions known.

Now I get to hound the City Council and the Traffic Safety Commission to make absolutely sure they all represent OUR interests well.

I did the politically correct thing and did my best to bring the issues before the bodies in R.P.V.

I feel I served R.P.V. well and I will now take the knowledge I learned and continue to use it to primarily benefit all of us living east and south of the radomes on the top of The Hill.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


This item is far too important to be kept from the widest readership possible.

Developer of San Pedro's Ponte Vista plan is ousted
By Gene Maddaus Staff Writer
Posted: 12/12/2008 11:18:30 PM PST

Bob Bisno, the developer who polarized San Pedro with his plans for a 1,950-unit condo complex, has been ousted from the project's development team.

A division of Credit Suisse bank, Bisno's top investor, has assumed control of the controversial Ponte Vista project, the development team announced Friday.

Though Bisno's departure was hailed by neighbors who have battled him over density and traffic issues for three years, it may not mean the end of the project.

The project's lobbyist said Friday that Ponte Vista would still move forward under the direction of DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners, a subsidiary of Credit Suisse.

"Anyone who becomes a spokesman for a development project becomes a lightning rod," said lobbyist Steve Afriat, speaking of Bisno. "The temperature's going to be turned down now because there's a new sheriff in town. DLJ is committed to working with the community."

The Ponte Vista development, slated for 61.5 acres of former Navy land, has appeared to be in serious trouble since last month, when the Los Angeles Planning Department recommended that it be rejected.

Dispensing with Bisno's arguments, the planning staff found that no more than 1,200 condos should be built on the site, and perhaps as few as 775. Bisno initially seemed ready to fight that ruling at the Planning Commission this week, but later the developers asked to postpone the hearing to February.

Even if the project continues, Bisno's ouster is a major milestone in the history of the development. Community members said that his personal style was too obstinate and that he insisted on a massive project long after it became clear that doing so would split the community into warring factions.

"His business plan was `My way or the highway,"' said Jerry Gaines, who served on a citizens committee that studied the project. "Now you got people that don't want to speak to each other, and a lot of unrest that was not necessary."

Bisno rallied support from local businesses that wanted more customers, and labor groups that were eager for more construction jobs. He also tried to sweeten the deal by offering to build a park for the Eastview Little League, and built a cadre of loyal San Pedro residents.

But many other residents said he was never flexible enough on their central concern: the number of condos. His initial proposal was for 2,300 units, which struck many in the community as wildly unrealistic because it would jam Western Avenue with traffic and put a strain on the city's services.

Neighbors in San Pedro and Rancho Palos Verdes, which is just across the street from the old Navy site, rallied against the project. In 2007, Bisno came back with a concession: he would cut the number of housing units to 1,950.

"That was no concession at all," said John Greenwood, who chaired the advisory committee. "I think he just fell in love with the plan. I don't think Bisno ever had a Plan B."

If he was inflexible, it may have been because he needed to recoup his $125 million investment in the land. His margins must have tightened even further as the housing bubble popped - making it increasingly difficult to turn a profit.

"My guess is the people with the sharp pencils at Credit Suisse decided this is a losing proposition," said Doug Stern, a Rancho Palos Verdes councilman. "If a lender is stepping in, they think they're at substantial risk of not getting their money back."

In an interview, Afriat would not comment on the reason for Bisno's departure, or even confirm that he had been ousted by his investors.

But Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn said Afriat had told her that Credit Suisse decided to remove Bisno.

"I feel very positive that Credit Suisse saw the writing on the wall," Hahn said. "I believe I'll have a better working relationship now. I would like the developer to go back to the drawing board, start over, and design a project that would have a better chance of being approved."

Allan Abshez, the project's attorney, said that nothing has changed and the development team still intends to go before the Planning Commission on Feb. 12.

Afriat said, however, that DLJ is willing to be flexible about the number of condos.

"Is it 1,950?" he asked. "No. It doesn't have to be 1,950. It's not 1,200 either, though. That's a little thin."

You need to know at the outset that Mr. Steve Afriat has been and continues to be the largest lobbyist in the city of Los Angeles and he has many powerful friends in high places.

It is now apparent more than ever that the members of OUR community assume much of the control over deciding what could be built at the site by creating reasonable proposals that might find acceptance.

It must not be enough to just react to future proposals credit by DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners now that they have taken over control of the project.

Our community must also work hard to deal with the 'guidelines' set up by the L.A. City Planning Commission for the site and also lobby Councilwoman Janice Hahn to truly consider her support for those guidelines.

OUR community's future is too important not to act and it we must not allow ourselves to simply sit back and react.

Some More Information

Here is a link to find out more information about the new Development group that is going forward with the project.

You won't necessarily find any new information about Ponte Vista, but you may want to discover more about the group that now has control over the project.
A very wise person wondered aloud to me whether the name of the development and the project might be changed from Ponte Vista at San Pedro to something else because of the division and failures connected with that name.
Now that it is a moot point, "1,600" was the number of units Bob considered as his minimum number of units he could allow to be built withoug losing any "community benefits" and allowing for all mitigation.
Bob and his partners associated with Bisno Development Co., L.L.C. may have only put up about 8 Million Dollars of their own money to date, in all their dealings surrounding Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

It has been strongly suggested that Bob used other peoples' money through Credit Suisse to have the site acquired and fund some of the processes of developing the project.
The financial backers of the project may take whatever they can get for the project's land value as part of any pricing structure for any units sold on the property. They may not necessarily have to try that hard to recoup the 122 Million Dollars as they may be able to write some of it down and ask the Federal Government for some bailout protection using combined projects and losses dealing with all or most of them.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bob's Ships Continue To Take On Too Much Water

Here is a post from our good friends at The Orange Juice Blog:
December 09, 2008

Bisno Tower update
Posted by: Art Pedroza : Category: Eminent Domain, Fresh Juice, SA City Council, Santa Ana

The Santa Ana Planning Commission met this week on Monday night. But once again they did not vote to approve the 31 story luxury condo tower proposed by developer Robert Bisno. This time his company requested that the vote be delayed. I am not sure why, but I am glad. I could not be there on Monday, but hope to be at the next meeting.

Bisno in recent weeks has pulled out of his eminent domain project in downtown Baldwin Park. He has put his $29 million dollar home in Beverly Hills on the market. Bisno’s San Pedro project is not looking good as the community, like their counterparts in Baldwin Park, is up in arms. And Bisno’s City Place project is a disaster, full of empty, overpriced condos that Bisno is auctioning off, and weird boutiques that have no future. The Mother’s Market at City Place is always empty.

In short, this has been a tough year for Team Bisno. Sure, they got their friends on the Santa Ana City Council re-elected. But that isn’t doing anything to help Bisno’s bottom line. I am told that the only reason he wants his Tower approved is so that he can sell his City Place property and the Tower lot and get the Hell out of Santa Ana. Good riddance!


There is a fascinating Topix thread at this link, wherein readers are debating whether or not Bisno owes $400,000 to either the City of Baldwin Park or to unnamed vendors. Enjoy!

I wasn't able to pull up the original article about a sum of money now in question.

Either Bob may owe the city of Baldwin Park $400,000.00 or he may owe vendors for the city or others some monies. The comments seem murky but I have not taken the time to look harder into the most current issues with Baldwin Park now that Bob has pulled out of the downtown redevelopment project.

I guess if we look around we may be able to scoop up some deck chairs, somewhere.

Odds and Ends 95

I had to change the opening sentence of this post because of developments that occured on December 12, 2008. I think you can understand why I needed to change the line.

The Steering Committee of R Neighborhoods Are 1 is continuing its work on dealing with the Ponte Vista matters and the 'Guidelines' established by the Planning Department for the northwest San Pedro site.

SRHS 15 has been given the go ahead and SRHS 14 may be coming back online once the Board of Education decides how and where to allocate some of the Seven Billion Dollars in new bond money provided by the voters and taxpayers residing within the District's boundaries.

If you have noticed recently, some block walls are being replaced along Western Avenue, north of Avenida Aprenda. If that agrees with you, you can thank the folks of Rancho Palos Verdes Code Enforcement. Property owners whose older walls have crumbled were required by the city to replace them.

Now if only the city of Los Angeles had a code enforcement program to get rid of that blight on their side of Western Avenue. L.A. has over 3 Million residents while R.P.V. has around 44,000.
The following two posts from other sites is simply for your information. The lawsuit referred to in the posts deals with an apartment complex and is not under the same conditions at Ponte Vista at San Pedro is.

However, Mayor V. may be able to appoint a new member of the Planning Commission to replace Ms. Usher. Mayor V. is a big proponent of Density Bonus programs, so if you wish to be concerned, please go ahead and be concerned.

This item is from Ron Kay L.A. at:
Jane Usher Out as Planning Commission Head
By Ron Kaye
December 11, 2008 11:18 AM

It doesn't pay to stand up for the a greater Los Angeles -- not with City Hall committed to a poorer, denserj, more congested and uglier Los Angeles.

Just ask Nick Patsaouras who spent most of his adult life as an unpaid public servant, a watchdog on public spending and public policy who, as head of the Department of Water and Power Board, ran afoul of City Hall's corrupt political culture by trying stand up for ratepayers.

He finally quit and is running for City Controller.

Now you can ask attorney Jane Ellison-Usher who is resigning today as head of the Planning Commission after running afoul of those same forces that have done such disservice to the city.

Usher has done many courageous acts such as proposing 14 bold principles last year for a better city under the title "Do Real Planning."

She created a row in March with an email saying the city's efforts to give housing developers carte blanche to roll back zoning laws was "fatally flawed" and would lead to lawsuits, which it has.

And she recently pushed through proposal for a six-month moratorium on those hideous digital billboards that are blighting the city's neighborhoods.

Such acts of leadership, such passion for a better city are clearly unacceptable to the mayor, the council and the special interests who pull their strings.

Thanks, Ms. Usher, for trying to change L.A.
Now this from Curbed L.A. at:

Usher's Exit Follows City's Loss in Density Bonus Case

Why did Jane Usher resign from the Planning Commission? Apparently she wrote a "multi-page letter" today that could explain why (it may be circulating, but we haven't seen it yet), but it's important to point out that this week the city lost its first lawsuit resulting from handling of the SB1818 Density Bonus issue, an topic that Usher had been extremely vocal about. This was the case of Louise Apartments, which sued the city for blocking its project, alleging that the City Planning Commission ignored the Density Bonus law by essentially invoking CEQA and killing the project through mitigation measures. In his decision (dated December 8th) Judge David Yaffe writes that the "action taken by the Planning Commission is arbitrary, capricious, and is not justified by any evidence. It is an abuse of discretion because it constitutes a refuse to comply with the literal wording and the legislative intent of Government Code section 65915 (d) (i)." According to the reader who forwarded us the court decision, the next step is that the court will take written arguments about any penalties that should be levied against the city and the city automatically has to pay the developer's attorney fees. Download the court order here. Over at the Ron Kaye LA blog, Kaye writes in defense of the Usher, stating "it doesn't pay to stand up for a greater Los Angeles -- not with City Hall committed to a poorer, denser, more congested and uglier Los Angeles...Usher is resigning today as head of the Planning Commission after running afoul of those same forces that have done such disservice to the city."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Bru-Ha-Ha on Western

If you were caught in traffic during the bru-ha-ha near Western and Park Western, I feel sorry for you.

Apparently something went down at the Cigar store along Western Avenue in the city of Rancho Palos Verdes.

The Los Angeles Police Department was in charge of the investigation and nobody lost their lives.

One police officer seemed agitated when I asked the simple question of why was L.A.P.D. involved in the city of Rancho Palos Verdes where the L.A. County Sheriff's office has jurisdiction. I got a very cocky response from that officer who seemed agitated at such a simple question.

Everybody was very tight-lipped around the area. Several young fellows commented to each other 'are we good' on eigther side of the yellow barrier tape.

Both sides stated they were good when those questions went back and forth.

Usually at the monthly meeting of the Board of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council, the lead officer for the area makes a report about crimes in that area. I hope the lead officer remembers what went down this evening to share with us at the meeting.

If you were stuck in the traffic, you found the normal traffic that was usually as congested as it normally is compounded by the invasion of police cars, sheriff's cars, fire department vehicles and gawker traffic.

As usual, some of the emergency vehicles had to drive over the concrete median to get along Western Avenue.

Terri and I walked to Marie Calender's for our first post-remodel dinner at that restaurant so we did not add to any traffic jams today.

Since the Board of Education approved the construction of South Region High School No. 15 on the Preferred Site, the Alternative that could have had the campus built on the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site is now moot.

Friday, December 05, 2008

More Words About THAT Subject

An article appearing in City Watch titled,“Traffic!” the New Panic Word in LA can be read below or by clicking on to:

The article was written by Damien Goodmon.

Last month, New York Times economics columnist, David Leonhardt, suggested that a potential federal economic recovery package that invests in our nation’s infrastructure come with a requirement that the construction of the projects be supported by evidence. His column was a refreshing and surprisingly rare public rebuke of the “Just build baby, build” mindset, which is currently plaguing the important discussion of mass transportation in Los Angeles. Indeed, on the project I’m most familiar with, Expo Line Phase 1, a light rail line from Downtown LA to Culver City, MTA’s environmental review document should have won culinary awards for cooking the books. Yet even with distorted data, the transportation agency couldn’t show that the $862 million dollar project with it’s 46 at-grade rail crossings, would be a better solution to traffic than building nothing at all. To the surprise of no traffic engineer in the world, at-grade light rail crossings at rates as high as 24-30 crossings per hour during rush hour in the middle of urban Los Angeles, increases traffic congestion.

In Southern California, all commuters are understandably frustrated with traffic congestion, and our politicians have responded by providing the appearance of doing something about the crisis with billion dollar transportation projects. Building and investment in rail is clearly needed, but the absence of any requirement for the billion dollar projects to meet measurable transportation goals should be disturbing to all taxpayers and commuters.

For example, one would think the MTA’s stated strategic vision, the Long Range Transportation Plan, would be predicated on a goal of increasing mass transit’s share of work commutes by a certain percent, and/or improving circulation by a certain percentage. Instead the “plan” is a smorgasbord of individual pet projects devised in a process driven by politics.

When confronted with severe deficiencies in both specific projects and the plan in general, MTA’s justification is disturbingly simplistic: “TRAFFIC!”

It’s a powerful word in Southern California. The mere mention of it is enough to cause widespread panic and chest tightening.

Supported by the best public relations efforts taxpayer money can buy, and a media that at best is too overburdened to actually report the issue, our transportation agency and elected officials are allowed to make the unsubstantiated claim that anything being built, regardless of when, where or how, is a solution to TRAFFIC! Those who oppose repeating the same failed protocol are viewed as impediments to progress. Any who expect documented, verifiable traffic relief for their tax dollars are labeled obstructionist.

It takes courage to look at a problem as it is and to chart a successful solution. It also takes integrity and backbone. Continuing to allow this process of public relations spin, manipulated data, and shortsighted, politically concocted projects has the massive repercussion of lost time, misappropriated resources, and expensive externalities with 100-year price tags.

As a nation we are experiencing the ruinous results of seven years of message crafting and data manipulation. We have watched the demonization of critics that leads to a paralyzing stagnation of progress. We have seen how near-sighted projects have worsened problems they were sold as solving.

Unfortunately, that playbook has landed in the lap of MTA. “TRAFFIC!” has become the new panic trigger in LA. (Damien Goodmon is a transit activist and one of the leaders in the Fix the Expo Campaign.)
Vol 6 Issue 98
Pub: Dec 5, 2008

Traffic will increase along Western Avenue no matter whether anything is built at Ponte Vista or not.

No matter what the number of residential and/or commercial units are built at Ponte Vista, traffic to and from that site will increase.

"Traffic" has always been and always will be the number one issue surrounding whatever is built at the site and nothing could stand in the way of that.

It may, once again, be time during the interim period to actually do some real investigations and provide comments and discovery on having a new route between the site and Gaffey Street created.

Also, it should be considered that MTA line number 205 may not be anywhere sufficient to cover the transportation needs of residents living inside the boundaries of the site, no matter how many residents there could eventually be.

If senior housing could be provided at the site, MTA will need to offer more transportation options that may be specifically designed to get more folks between northwest San Pedro and the offices and facilities on 6th and 7th Streets in the unincorporated area, surrounded by San Pedro.

When we consider traffic along Western Avenue, the issues must always begin with the survey of the number of cars and drivers utilizing Western Avenue, by the Western Avenue Task Force.

The findings found that in 2005, about 37,500 vehicle trips were metered along Western Avenue, each day.

It was also found that the number of vehicles using Western Avenue would increase by about 1% each and every year between 2005 and the end of the study period in 2025.

By 2009 it is expected, even without any vehicles added to the counts because of new residential units at Ponte Vista, the number of cars along Western will be a little over 39,000 vehicles per day. In that four-year period, an added count of over 1,500 vehicles per day will have been added.

By 2025 and without an abnormally large housing project being built along Western Avenue, we should expect to find about 45,757 vehicles traveling along Western Avenue in the Task Force's study area. That 8,257 vehicle increase allowing to only normal (1%) development growth along the study area means that Western Avenue either needs to be widened to accommodate that many more vehicles or we all need to get our hands on some very small vehicles so we can all stuff ourselves into the smallest spaces possible along Western.

Odds and Ends 94

I'm changing things up a bit because situations have changed very significantly.

If you want to read true fiction, please visit I had considered mentioning it only once on this blog, but now I think you should read what is published on that site.

In response to some of the issues written about on that site's Dec 2 post about 'benefits' that will be lost if only 1200 units are authorized, I can only write 'Hogwash!'

If there are no commercial services at the site, then folks only have to put shoes on their feet and walk a very short distance to an entire shopping center, complete with restaurants.

The site mentions obesity and diabetes but somebody also wants you to have to walks an even shorter distance to gather your coffee or donuts.

How many residents of the northwest San Pedro area have visited Eastview Park? I know you need to keep your vehicle doors locked and your valuables hidden, but that is true with every park's parking lot.

But with just a bit longer of a walk from Western and Green Hills Drive, one can visit that park which sits atop land owned by the Sanitation Districts.

San Pedro has about 11 times the park lands and open spaces per resident than most other places in the city of Los Angeles. We are all blessed with some of the most beautiful parks and open spaces anywhere. How much would a 6-acre park really benefit folks who don't live in the Ponte Vista neighborhood?

Oh boy, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce supports commerce. Duh!

Folks, it is time for the Outreach Team to stop beating a dead horse. Not only is that poor animal long dead, it has already provided some needed glue to some people.

There will NOT be 1,950-units built on the 61.53 acre site. Get over it! Put it to bed and merciful peace.

On May 29, 2007 I finally wrote for the first time that I considered R1 as the only option for the site. That writing was and is conditional and based on the concept that as long as Bob Bisno continued with plans for a project the size he wanted, R1, NO COMPROMISE! was my only option.

Until Bob rescinds his current application or it is finally put out of its misery by the L.A. City Council, the zoning at the 61.53 acre site must stay R1, NO COMPROMISE!

This does not mean I believe the final authorized residential units allowed for at the site will be built using R1 zoning guidelines.

Now that the Planning Department has issued its report with recommendations and guidelines AND it appears that Councilwoman Hahn supports those guidelines to build units according to zoning other than R1, it is now really going to be an uphill battle for those who continue to demand R1 now and forever.

The community needs to get together and finally discuss and debate whether R1 is the best for that site and I do not know the answer to that right now.

Times and generations have changed. I am a baby-boomer and there are more of us growing older and remaining active than there were for our parents' generation.

We will live longer, remain more active, desire more amenities, and demand more activities and options than generations that grew older before us.

While it still may be absolutely positively true that San Pedrans live in their homes and die in them when they get older, that doesn't mean the baby-boomer generation will want to do the same.

Even after the economic slowdown is over, aging baby-boomers will still be the highest spending age group in the country and we will flex our muscles to get what we want.

I believe some current and soon to be seniors do want some kind of senior housing at the site. I actually agree with those who wish for some senior housing.

Because if the types of housing seniors would want to move in to, there is probably little wish to have senior housing at the site with R1 zoning.

Senior housing at the site would necessitate a change of the current zoning on at least a portion of the site and that is simply a fact of life.

I continue to call for a realistic, independent, and objective survey being conducted within the 5-7 zip code areas nearest the site to determine the number of seniors who would actually consider buying a senior unit at Ponte Vista. But I do feel there are probably at least several hundred seniors or soon-to-be seniors who could find senior units at Ponte Vista a reasonable and practical option.

Bob continues to claim he cannot provide 'community benefits' if only 1200-units are allowed to be built at Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

Too bad. So sad. Hey Bob, I still have an acre of the Moon for sale!

As people who want to, create different versions of what they want built at the site and sending those ideas to the Outreach Team, the Planning Department, and Councilwoman Hahn's office, there must be at least a minimum that any developer/speculator is required to provide, no matter how many units are allowed.

Full traffic mitigation will be required. I don't care if the final outcome is R1 or something below 1,197, each and every traffic mitigation issue must be accomplished prior to any construction beginning at the site.

A complete reanalysis and any mitigation dealing with infrastructure must also be accomplished prior to any construction beginning on the site, no matter what is authorized.

While I am quite sure that many folks will demand that a roadway be provided between Western Avenue and the Mary Star High School parking lot, I am still not convinced that this should be part of my requirement for the site.

It should be included in concepts and plans provided by everyone else who demands that the road remain open.

With up to 1,196-units spread out in two-story structures throughout the area, there will be more open spaces than what would be found at a 1,950-unit project, I feel.

Using green alternatives, gray water irrigation, and other items, there could be several larger areas of greenery afforded the site.

For me, that is about it for 'community benefits'.

Bob will claim he won't be able to do any of it, but can you spell s-p-e-c-u-l-a-t-i-o-n?

A member of the Outreach Team confirmed that Bob's company was using Credit Suisse, First Boston as a major financial institution for the project.

I read on Thursday that the firm was laying off some workers.

I have no idea how the strength or lack thereof with Credit Suisse might impact Bob's financials for Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

The Outreach Team's site claimed that more money has been infused into the development recently so it can continue to go forward.

I wish Bob would use the money to put his current application into the round file and work with the community on new plans and applications.

But if he wishes to go broke continuing to head into real doom with his current application, then who am I to stop him?

Your assignment for this coming week is to grab a slip of paper and write down some notes about what you could live with at Ponte Vista.

"Jim" has already commented he wants to keep the site with its current zoning. I hope "Jim" will provide us with reasoning for his idea. If folks who want to keep the site R1 can make a strong enough argument to convince the majority of folks who are interested, then maybe that will be the zoning.

I have heard repeatedly that folks want to keep the existing structures on the site and just refurbish them and put them up for sale. If they can provide good reasoning for their ideas, then that should be read and considered, too.

Also from what I have heard and read recently, anyone who attempts to come up with a project that includes more than '1200' units will probably be roundly criticized. I have enough problems with my 1,080 'wish' to know that any more units than that creates a firestorm among many people.

Here are your starting points in considering what could be built at Ponte Vista.

Up to 429 is the highest number of single-family, detached residential units on lots of not less than 5,000 square feet. This is the "No Project" Alternative to the plans for Ponte Vista.

Up to 733 is the number of single-family, detached residential units that could be built using R1 and OS zoning WITH a density bonus.

Up to 775 is the lower end of the number of units suggested by the guidelines established by the Planning Department.

Up to 886 is the highest number of units suggested without using a density bonus.

Up to 1,040 is the lower end of the number of units suggested using a density bonus.

Up to 1,196 is the highest number of units suggested using a density bonus at the site.

245 is the number of existing duplex units still on the site. There is a building on the site that once held a small store and it is on the east side of the property. There is also a community building very close to it.

Up to 429 is the number of single-family, detached residential units on lots of not less than 5,000 square feet that Mr. Bisno could begin construction on in a matter of weeks or a very few months and he could do it without any new ordinances being passed by the Los Angeles City Council.

Remember the movie, "The Wizard of Oz"? In that movie, the good witch of the north told the main character, Dorothy Gale, that she could have left Oz at any time.

Something like that has always been true for Bob, too. He could have begun demolition of the existing structures and construction of up to 429 R1 zoned lots just after he bought the property and he still is allowed to do it, today.

I am not stating that he must do that or even that he should do that, but he could and still can do that if he wants to.

Perhaps Dorothy should have clicked the heels of her ruby slippers together and repeated, "There's no number like 429. There's no number like 429......"

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

We're In The Interim

The "Interim Period" (I.P.) has begun.

I'm thinking it began when the report by the Planning Department was issued.

I'm thinking it will eventually end when the vote is taken by members of the Los Angeles City Council to authorize plans for whatever is going to be built at the site now called Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

I'm thinking that the I.P. may last at least two years or more.

So now what do we do during the I.P.?

We first need to deal with the mundane tasks of the City Council's votes to disapprove and deny the applications, agreements, vesting tentative tract map, and everything else associated with the application now on file.

It may be a good thing to also attempt to persuade everyone to call for the applicant to rescind all the documents and simply start over, from the beginning.

We will need to be vigilant in the near term to ensure that no side deals or other improper deals are even discussed between the applicant and the Planning Department on amending anything and then attempting to present amended items to the City Planning Commission and the City Council.

We need to make sure that as far as what will be considered for construction at the site begins again at square one and that nothing gets in the way of that.

Really though, the biggest thing we can do for OUR community is to create ideas, concepts, illustrations, plans, and thinking about what WE want to see built on that 61.53 acre site.

It has already been attempted that a developer/speculator would come into OUR community and tell us what we want.

It is now time to instruct any developers or speculators what WE will allow to be built in OUR community.

The former was attempted and failed miserably. The latter needs to be allowed to take over, for the benefit of everyone.

We also need to discuss and even debate the Guidelines set forth in the report by the Planning Department. Are those Guidelines really the ones we can support in OUR community?

It is also important to mention our appreciation to Bob Bisno for his continued efforts to allow law enforcement and others to use the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site for training purposes.

It is also important to mention appreciation to Mr. Bisno by those who support keeping a road open through his property from Western Avenue to the Mary Star campus.

For those of us who don't like that road being open, that is another matter.

Maybe we need to offer suggestions as to what the site could be used for during the I.P.

John laughed out loud when I suggested using the housing and the outdoor areas of the site for a television show I initially called "Desperate Military Housewives". If a production company came to town for a lengthy period of time, most of their equipment trucks would stay at the site, many of the production staff and cast might use restaurants and businesses in OUR community, and it would provide Bob some mitigating income because the producers would have to pay Bob to use his site and buildings.

Heck, several series could be filmed on the site and provide jobs and revenue to folks in OUR community, I feel.

The I.P. needs to include outreach to those of us who were on very opposite sides of the issues that are now relegated to history. Bob attempted to break OUR community by dividing too many of us and somehow we need to all come back together for the benefit of OUR community and to create a project at the site that truly is the best for OUR community.

The I.P. needs to continue to welcome our four-legged friends who chomp their way around the site and keep the weeds to the lowest levels possible.

The I.P. can finally allow all of us to step back and do the real studies necessary to consider what folks really want in OUR community. There is now time for real studies to be undertaken using a large number of folks to really find out if senior housing is important in OUR community and if so, how many units do we really need.

We need to pay very close attention to Western Avenue during the I.P. There will have to be new traffic studies undertaken after a new Initial Study and Draft Environmental Impact Report is called for because of a new application.

Western Avenue, its traffic patterns, and the number of vehicles on it every day has changed since the initial and subsequent counts were taken for the project.

Marshall's, Target, Mary Star, and the market on Western at P.V. Drive North have all opened since the DEIR was published and things are different whether any developer says something or not.

Money may need to be found to look at the remaining old storm drains under Western Avenue that we may now have time to really inspect and fix, if necessary. Now that pressure to start building something at the site has waned, we should make sure that Western Avenue has the best possibility of remaining intact for the long run.

During the I.P. would some folks wish to look into changing the rules so that new cemetery land can be provided in SAN PEDRO, rather that just in Rancho Palos Verdes?

The fight against the old plans are over. Now we have the opportunity to examine what went correctly, what went wrong, and what can be done to ensure the best results for OUR community.

There are no more "supporters" or "opponents" I feel. There is nothing left to support and there is no reason, after the City Council action, to oppose Bob's old plans.

We are all now members of OUR community, the same community and now it should be up to US to consider what is best for US and OUR community and that is going to take work and resolve.

The I.P. will not be an easy time for many of us and there is a great deal of hard work ahead for all of us. It will be worth it when we finally welcome residents to a new development we can ALL be proud of.

There will be more requirements for things to get done as the I.P. progresses and we need to be ready, willing, and able to meet those future requirements, too.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Just A Hearing

The Harbor Area Planning Commission meeting held today was simply a hearing as it turned out.

Only one member of the now-four member Harbor Area Planning Commission attended.

At the hearing we learned that Ms. Eleanore Montano had resigned from the Commission.

Two other Commissioners did not attend because they were "disqualified" according to Mr. Ponce.

Ms. Camilla Townsend was unable to reschedule her plans to allow he to attend the December 2 meeting.

Mr. Michael Ponce, the President of the Harbor Area Planning Commission presided over the hearing that was held to hear comments and allow him to make his own recommendation to the City Planning Commission.

Mr. Ponce is a longshoreman and he lives in Wilmington. Mr. Ponce sends one of his children to Dodson Middle School in San Pedro and another child to Taper Avenue Elementary School, in San Pedro.

During the hearing, Mr. Ponce complained about the traffic on Western. Please remember this is from a Wilmington family member who sends to children to San Pedro schools, with one of the schools having Western Avenue as its only major artery route.

The hearing began with Mr. Ponce having the Planning Department Representative talk about the Report that was recently released.

After Mr. David Olivo completed his presentation, Mr. Ponce invited Mr. Alan Abshez, the attorney for the Applicant for Ponte Vista at San Pedro to come and present the applicant's views.

Mr. Abshez basically stated that since the hearing date had been changed to after the release of the Report and because of what was included in that Report, he didn't wish to provide any presentation.

Mr. Abshez stated that he and the applicant would be meeting with members of the Planning Department prior to the City Planning Commission meeting, tentatively scheduled for February 12, 2009.

Mr. Abshez notified Mr. Ponce that there seemed to be no wish or need for members of the Ponte Vista Outreach Team and/or supporters of Bob's to attend the hearing/meeting and in fact, only two recognized supporters of Bob's were in the room.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn was invited to speak at the hearing and she stated that during her first face to face meeting with Bob Bisno where he offered a plan for 2,300-units, Ms. Hahn stated directly to Mr. Bisno that 2,300-units were too many for the site.

Ms. Hahn indicated her full support for the recommendations made by the Planning Department in their Report. Ms. Hahn also stated that she supports the 'Guidelines' provided in that report.

I will create a post concerning Ms. Hahn, the 'Guidelines' and other issues around the Report on my R1 blog.

After Ms. Hahn finished her remarks, Mr. Ponce opened up the floor for public comment.

I don't know why my name came first, but it did, so I got up.

Mr. Ponce did have questions for the Planning Commission specifically about the three larger buildings directly to the south of the Ponte Vista site. He seemed interested in the population density of the buildings.

Mr. Olivo provided some information about the density on the approximately 6 acres of land that made up the sites for the buildings, but my comments were geared to allow for more information.

I stated to Mr. Ponce that the three buildings had 62, 136, and 129-units respectively and that the 136-unit building was made up entirely of lease-type units.

I provided that the total number of units that Bob has indicated on his application were about 17 times the number of units as the total combined number of units for those three buildings and that Bob wanted to put up his number of units on under 10 times the land area the three other buildings stood on.

During the second speaker's set of comments, Mr. Abshez exited the meeting room and was not seen there again, during the meeting.

When I was completed, another 21 folks took their turns to state almost 21 different sets of why they were opposed to Bob's plans.

Nancy and Art were quite correct in their statements about how long time San Pedro seniors live and die in their homes and do not generally move out of their homes. They both stated different reasoning and I think they both had some good points.

(I still 'wish' for some senior housing, but what Nancy and Art said is completely understandable.)

There were only two or three folks who commented about the increased traffic on Western. They also offered differing ideas including how emergency vehicles would have greater problems.

Of the 22 speakers who were called up to provide comments, zero of them offered any comments in support of Bob's current plans, the one's that may be voted on in the future.

Of the two supporters' of Bob's who showed up, Ms. Mary Jo Walker deserves repeated commendation for her public statement, made some time ago, that Bob's plans included too many units for her liking.

The other 'supporter' Ms. Irene Mendoza apparently works for Rudy Svornich and Rudy had been hired to lobby for Bob Bisno and the project.

At the end of the meeting, Mr. Ponce finally offered his own comments and recommendations that he would pass along to the City Planning Commission.

Mr. Ponce stated his recommendation that the City Planning Commission follow the recommendations made by the Planning Department and deny or disapprove everything brought before them concerning Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

However, Mr. Ponce did state he does not support keeping the current zoning at the site. When asked more about that position, Mr. Ponce stated that he has his "own opinions" yet when pressed further, would not reveal those opinions to the public, which are folks he is supposed to represent.

Nancy's suggestion that opponents of Bob's plans wear red to the hearing we met by many of the audience wearing red, including the R1 buttons.

The loudest anyone got in the room was when Pat reminded everyone that the site is included in the Wilmington/Harbor City Community Plan Area and that Ponte Vista is NOT IN WILMINGTON and NOT IN HARBOR CITY!

The fact that the site is located so far from the commercial and retail center of the Wilmington/Harbor City Community Area Plan was mentioned as one of the reasons for denying the application.

Another problem with having it in the Community Plan Area but not the community is that it skews the density plans for both the San Pedro Community Plan Area and the Wilmington/Harbor City Community Plan Area.

The overall general recommendation that Mr. Ponce brought out and Ms. Hahn agreed with is that Bob should work better with the Planning Department and OUR community to find the best possible project plans for all of us. Isn't that what so many of us have been saying for all these years?

My personal opinion right now is that IF Bob is truly interested in working with OUR community, he would simply cancel his current applications, vesting tentative tract map, community agreements, and other plans so this process can begin again with a fresh start as soon as possible.

Subjecting any of us to having to deal with the City Planning Commission and the L.A. City Council using what is currently on the table is a waste of time, money, effort, and the potential for good will between Bob and OUR community.

There is absolutely no reason to carry on with this current situation any longer. There can be no agreement made between Bob and the Planning Department for anything else, at this time.

No compromise proposals can come forth and be dealt with unless the processes are started over and all public input can be accomplished.

There can't be any behind-the-scenes negotiations going anywhere now that the Report has been made public and the Area Planning Commission has held its hearing.

1,950 died some time ago. It was buried without any services, and the grass has all grown back.

The gravestone has been chiseled and is more than ready to be permanently placed over the grave. There is no reason that that gravestone needs to sit in storage one more day.

It is time for all of us to come together and help OUR community by coming up with some real proposals that have some chance of seeing the light of day.

We must now stop being opponents and supporters of Bob's plans because those plans are only memories mixed with bitterness and shrouded with sadness.

Let's let it go and get on with it!

We now have issues with the 'Guidelines' to consider and whether we like them or not.

Do we support Ms. Hahn's support for those 'Guidelines'?

How can we all now work together to get the best results at the site for OUR community?

Bob's plans are history unless and until he attempts to come up with plans that OUR community finds as bad as his original plans.

We are going to need to work together if there will ever be an access road from Western Avenue to the Mary Star campus, whether we like that idea or not.

There can be no stopping and no real relaxation if we are going to provide something at the site that is the best for OUR community.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Continuation of the Ponte Vista Matter Has Been Confirmed!

The applicant for Ponte Vista at San Pedro has requested a 45-day continuance on holding the City Planning Commission meeting concerning the project.

I can now confirm as of 3:44 PM on Monday December 1, 2008, the Los Angeles City Planning Department has agreed to the continuance.

According to a senior spokesperson for the development, the applicant had asked for the continuance in order to study more "options" concerning the project.

The December 2, Harbor Area Planning Commission is still scheduled and it can go on even without a quorum because there will be nothing decided during that meeting and comments from the public will be taken.

The December 2 meeting is important to those who oppose Bob's plans for Ponte Vista at San Pedro, but I have been given to believe that the Outreach Team is not planning on having a large semi-organized group of supporters attending that meeting.

Stay 'tuned' to this blog for further information to be posted as I learn it.

I will try to update this blog as soon as I learn more because as Katy Morgan said so well, "It's my job."

No new date for the City Planning Commission to hear from the applicant has been set.

Bob's House On Real Estalker

"Your Mama", the gifted and funny publisher of The Real Estalker has published a piece about Bob's house being for sale.

The post come complete with photos!

I'll let readers find the humor and 'pleasure' in reading the post and 63+ comments that have already been written.

Here is a link to even more photos.

After viewing the photos on the site, I have become basically write-less. Temporarily, mind you.