Friday, September 25, 2009

Odds and Ends 136

I've heard and read nothing new about Ponte Vista at San Pedro this week.

Their main Web site is still under construction, but that is expected since there hasn't been any big reveal of the new plans and numbers.

You probably won't see Census Enumerators out and about during the next several weeks unless you are affiliated with group quarters, places where a number of unrelated individuals live or could live.

The round of information gathering will not ask any personal questions other than the name, phone number, and position of the individuals Enumerators contact to gather information.

I am part of this group and I feel disclosure of that is important to someone who writes a blog that deals with businesses in the area.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Odds and Ends 135

Quiet and stillness was the order of the past week concerning any new real new news about the Project.

I did appreciate the Outreach Team's post informing us about the latest reason we saw a number of parked vehicles on the property.

Another 'elephant in the room' seems to be changing and that can mean some things for OUR community.

Dr. Michael Brophy, the President of Marymount College announced plans to have the Junior College become a 4-year institution initially offering three different Bachelor's degrees.

It is common knowledge that the student enrollment at Marymount has been in decline for several years.

Many think having the College win accreditation to become a 4-year college will turn the declining enrollment around and the College may, in years to come, finally the maximum number of students currently allowed to attend the campus on Palos Verdes Drive East.

The College's application and approval processes to become a 4-year institution is expected to end by this coming February.

The Rancho Palos Verdes City Council conducted a meeting last Saturday specifically to consider the appeal to the current Marymount College Facilities Expansion Plan brought by Concerned Citizens Coalition/Marymount College.

The Council ultimately voted to send the issue back to staff and have them provide information about what might happen if the 4-year accreditation is approved for Marymount.

The Council instructed Staff to provide a report to them by this coming April.

It seems obvious to me that if Marymount College cannot become a 4 year school, then its future is grim.

Now considering that it is difficult to name any 4-year college in California without any on-campus housing for students, one might consider that the real reason Dr. Brophy and other are just now attempting to change the nature of the school is to quarantee on-campus housing will be built. This would probably end up being done via court order instead of approval by a City Council that could oppose such housing.

Currently there are over 300 Freshmen and Sophomore students living at the Palos Verdes North off-campus housing site on P.V. Drive North.

I have been told that most Freshmen living there don't have vehicles. How might traffic on Western be impacted if many Freshmen and Sophomore students were replaced at Palos Verdes North with more Juniors and Seniors.

I have also been told that most Seniors don't like living in any type of campus housing.

But since Dr. Brophy and other are trying to swell enrollment at the school by changing it, I don't think anyone can say how much impact on traffic would we all find on Western Avenue between Crestwood Street and Palos Verdes Drive North.

The E.I.R. for the Project, with Marymount as a 2-year school stated that 40% of the 1,561 daily trip INCREASE that would happen with the Project would pass along Western Avenue between the streets mentioned earlier.

Now a trivia quiz. Name a 61.53 acre site that sits on the east side of Western Avenue between Crestwood Street and Palos Verdes Drive North.

For a bonus, name the proposed Project site that currently has only Western Avenue as its ingress and egress route.

The middle of September has passes and I haven't read or heard when we will get a gander at the new plans and illustrations for Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

I don't think any of us really mind about having the Outreach Team and development team try their best to get it right. We have waited through some very bad times so waiting through these times is a cakewalk.

The current whispering about new and old businesses along Western indicates that the Amalfitano Family really is trying to go forward with providing a full service bakery in Western Plaza. Hillside Liquor is getting a major remodel and there has been some consideration of what contractors to use and when those contractors can get started on the bakery.

I hope the members of the Amalfitano understand that working with the bureaucracy of Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Department and other departments require a large number of headache and anxiety remedies. Terri and I are still patiently as we can.

Did you see the not so subtle signs where P'Sketti is/was. Originally I was thinking that the current property owner was trying to sell the property with the drive-through Italian Restaurant remaining open. I don't know if I am still comfortable with that opinion.

Remember when Marie Calender's had signs up and they were threatening to move? A deal was hammered out to keep that restaurant there for years to come.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Latest Post From "Your Ponte Vista"

A new post from Your Ponte Vista is offered below.

What I found interesting about the site is what is on it and what is gone.

The post below is a wonderful reminder of some of the very valuable events that have been held at the site.

The site may still contain far too much blight in my opinion, but I appreciate that Bob and now Ted offer part of the site for law enforcement training. It has been very helpful to a great number of Agencies and Departments to have training sessions among the duplexes, yards, and abandoned neighborhood.

I have seen a large number of parked cars on the property at times and I appreciate the explaination provided by the Outreach Team for why those cars are where they are and what the drivers of those cars are doing when the vehicles are stowed.

I will offer more comment below the post.


Happenings at the Ponte Vista Site
Sep 11th, 2009 by Ponte Vista

Although plans for the revised Ponte Vista Residential Community have not been finalized, Ponte Vista has been busy with activity. Last week, Camp del Corazon, a nonprofit organization that provides a free summer camp for children ages 7-17 with heart disease, stored their cars at Ponte Vista while staff worked on Catalina Island. By providing free parking for the Camp’s staff and counselors, Ponte Vista was able support the organization efforts by saving them parking fees.

Camp del Corazon started in 1995, with summer camps consisting of just 50 campers. Over the years, the camp has grown to two five-day sessions with close to 300 campers. Camp del Corazon is staffed completely by volunteer counselors, nurses, and physicians who give of their hearts to help these special kids, and Ponte Vista is happy to have been able to help! To find out more about Camp del Corazon, visit

The Ponte Vista site is also still active with law enforcement training. Every month, law enforcement agencies such as the LAPD, CHP, DEA, ICE, LA County Sheriff’s Department, and other police agencies from various cities throughout LA County come use the facilities and empty homes at Ponte Vista for training purposes. They are able to use the structures to play out various real life scenarios and to do movement training, and they also use the empty streets at Ponte Vista for training as well. Ponte Vista has provided this service to law enforcement agencies for over 4 years, and is proud to be able to continue to do so.
Apparently the elephant has left the trailers of the Outreach Team.

The Outreach Team has not offered any comment about their former boss' recent filing and whether it has little or no effect on plans or operations at Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

What I did find on the site is what I no longer can view on it. Any and all mention of the name "Bisno" has been stricken from view on the home page of the site.

It looks like there was an edit of the site by its Webmaster and a hastily done one at that. I can't find the copyright information stating 'Bisno Development Co' any longer, even in its tiny print. The copyright information is underneath the calendar and it now appears to be "Copyright 2009" "Ponte Vista Partners, LLC".

So perhaps Bob is really, really gone from anything and everything 'Ponte Vista'.

It still will be interesting to take a look at Bob’s Chapter 11 filing to see is any assets and liabilities are claimed in dealings with Ponte Vista after December, 2008.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Odds and Ends 134

I don't know yet if this week brings to a close the odds and ends of Bob Bisno's involvement with Ponte Vista at San Pedro. However, I feel the odds part will remain in place no matter where Mr. Bisno attempts to develop larger residential sites.


I think it will be revealing to learn about his recent assets and liabilities that he took into Chapter 11.

Below is a simple explanation of Chapter 11 Law Group and it came from the Moran Law Group:

"Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a form of bankruptcy reorganization available to individuals, corporations and partnerships. It has no limits on the amount of debt, as Chapter 13 does. It is the usual choice for large businesses seeking to restructure their debt.

A creditors committee is usually appointed by the U.S. Trustee from among the 20 largest, unsecured creditors who are not insiders. The committee represents all of the creditors in providing oversight for the debtor's operations and a body with whom the debtor can negotiate an acceptable plan of reorganization. The debtor usually remains in possession of its assets, and operates the business under the supervision of the court and for the benefit of creditors. The debtor in possession is a fiduciary for the creditors. If the debtor's management is ineffective or less than honest, a trustee may be appointed.

A Chapter 11 plan is confirmed only upon the affirmative votes of the creditors, who are divided by the plan into classes based on the characteristics of their claims, and whose votes are a function of the amount of their claim against the debtor.

If the debtor can't get the votes to confirm a plan, the debtor can attempt to "cram down" a plan on creditors and get the plan confirmed despite creditor opposition, by meeting certain statutory tests.

Chapter 11 is probably the most flexible of all the chapters, and as such, it is the hardest to generalize about. Its flexibility makes it generally more expensive to the debtor. The rate of successful Chapter 11 reorganizations is depressingly low, sometimes estimated at 10% or less."


Reaction to the news about Bob's filing was much lower than I had thought it would be.

The most animated response came from someone I never thought would be all that concerned about Ponte Vista as we have never really spoken about that subject at any length. Go figure.

I've heard or read nothing from the Outreach Team about the news and how it probably has no impact, in their opinion, on current plans.

It may take until Sunday until we read a letter to the editor in the Daily Breeze if anyone is really interested in writing a letter in the first place.

I don't intend on writing a letter to the editor concerning Bob at this point. That all may change if it comes out in filings that Bob has remained with some interest in the Project beyond last December when the new development team claimed Bob was out of the picture.


Fall will fall into place around September 20 or 21 and I hope the Outreach Team brings out to the public the newest plans for Ponte Vista.

It has been many months since we got a glimpse (in writing) dealing with plans for 1,395 units at Ponte Vista.

But I am getting 'vibes' that the newest plan will have a lower number of total units in the package.

All the time between last December and now need not be considered wasted though. I still can't see any developer pushing plans hard to get construction underway in this economy.

Whatever the newest form of an application to change the current zoning on the site are, it appears that there will be a 45-day circulation period for the new EIR before it goes back to the Planning Department, for what I hope is a lengthy, accurate, and complete review.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

No Title Required!

An article posted to the L. A. Business Journal on September 4, 2009.

Developer Files Chapter 11
Los Angeles Business Journal Staff

Real estate developer Bob Bisno, who last year failed in an attempt to build a large redevelopment project in Baldwin Park, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Los Angeles developer owes his largest 20 unsecured creditors more than $250 million, according to an Aug. 31 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. His largest creditor is listed as commercial real estate investment firm iStar Financial, which is owed $109 million.

His company, Bisno Development Co., has suffered a series of setbacks, including slow sales at luxury condominiums constructed in Santa Ana. He also withdrew plans last year for a controversial redevelopment of 109 acres in downtown Baldwin Park that would have relied on eminent domain to clear the land.

Bisno’s plan called for thousands of homes, a school and a hotel, but it reportedly ran into financing problems. The city is now moving forward with a much smaller plan.

Bisno recently listed his mansion in the hillside North Beverly Park neighborhood above Beverly Hills for $29 million, according to Orange Juice Blog, a political blog covering Orange County, where many of his developments are located.

Bisno was among the defendants in North Beverly Park sued by adjoining South Beverly Park for prohibiting their guests and household workers from using the north neighborhood’s streets to reach their homes. The dispute was later resolved.

Bisno could not immediately be reached for comment. Phone calls to Bisno Development, headquartered in Century City, went unanswered.


The news about Bob is not funny and I did not smile or smirk or chuckle or even make a remark other than to tell Terri who the person involved in this article is.

Times are tough all over and it is not unexpected that a Developer who probably should never have been attempting to develop large residential projects with such little experience in that type of building, would fall into this situation.

It is believed by some that Bob only invested somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 Million Dollars of his own money with his dealings with Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

I consider much of Bob's current situation was brought on by Bob himself and not the problems with the housing industry during the last year or so.

Bob had more than enough chances to remedy much of the problems he himself created with his marketing and management of the Ponte Vista as San Pedro Project.

I don't believe that Bob's current problems will have any real impact on Ponte Vista UNLESS we were given misinformation about whether Bob still continues to be a player in the project.

If he is truly gone, then I think Ted and Tim and the Outreach Team will continue to move forward this month, with launching the 'new' plans for Ponte Vista to the public.

Bob and "The Bob Years" provided many of us the opportunity to learn about developers and developments and what is good and very, very bad. For that, I think I thank him for the education we all got.

Now when folks attempt to come to OUR community and change it because they believe they know what is best for OUR community, whether we already know it or not, we can point to the mountain of information that is still being created related to Robert H. Bisno and those individuals and groups it is not nice to fool with OUR community.

Bob will probably be back out of bankruptcy at some point and he will probably work on future developments. But Bob and others know that those developments will not be in OUR community and we will be watching no matter where he goes and what he tries to do with other communities.

"Bob Bisno is going to save San Pedro!" That was a statement almost shouted out by one of his supporters during a CAC meeting. I don't think any of us want Bob to do anything in OUR community other than what he finally did.........left.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Western Avenue Pumping Station-An Article

The Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts has been working on its pumping station near the corner of Western Avenue and Avenida Aprenda for what seem like forever.
In the latest issue of "The Rolling Stones", the newsletter for the Rolling Hills Rivera and Palo de Encino neighborhoods, there is an article I will post below.
The article was written by Mr. Jim O'Donnell and Mr. Marc Fortain wrote about their visit inside to and inside the pumping station.
I don't think I can publish copies of the photos from the newsletter, but I may try and get a copy of the originals, scan them, and post them. They are remarkable.
Western Avenue Pumping Plant
By Jim O'Donnell & Marc Fortain
Walter Ackerman and John Joyce, Resident Engineers with the LA County Sanitation Districts gave us a tour of the construction site, in late July. They were cooperative and answered all our questions about the project.
The purpose of this plant is to pump the sewage from our area uphill along Western Ave. to Palos Verdes Drive North, where it flows by gravity down to the main treatment plant alongside the Harbor Freeway in Carson.
Construction was begun in August, 2006 to replace the original plant which has been there since 1960. The old plant is nearing its capacity and has equipment that is outmoded and can no longer be properly maintained. The new plant will have adequate capacity for growth and more sophisticated electrical controls.
The new plant consists of four underground rooms: a full-depth (35') wet well to receive sewage and act as a surge tank; alongside it, a lower chamber, housing 3 large and 2 small pumps; an upper chamber for the electric power controls; and the old plant, reconfigured to house a smaller surge tank and an auxiliary diesel generator.
Construction and equipment installation in the first three cambers is almost complete and due to be functionally tested in a few weeks. If it passe it acceptance tests, flow will be diverted from the old plant and the new one will go into service. Conversion of the old plant to the auxiliary area will then require another 5-6 months. All construction work, landscape restoration and site cleanup is expected to be finished early next year.
Since the entire project will have taken more than 2 years longer than originally estimated, we asked for the reasons for the delay. In their opinion, the principal factors for the delay were:
  • Large rocks were found in the soil, which were not revealed by the initial soil samples. These had to be broken up so they could be removed by the excavating equipment.
  • The presence of unrecorded electrical lines under the street which had to be avoided or relocated.
  • A revision to the design of the forms for pouring the eastern wall of the chamber, which lies right on the boundary of Western Ave.
  • Coordination with other agencies for the diversion of traffic on Western Ave. to allow excavation for the main chamber and the new tie-in into the sewer line.
We would like to thank Mr. Ackerman & Mr. Joyce for giving us this tour. They, in turn expressed their thanks to our residents for our great patience and forbearance during the inconvenient period in our lives. The end result will be-when you pull the handle, the toilet will flush and continue to flush for many years to come.
Now for some more information.
What has all this to do with Ponte Vista at San Pedro? Really not a whole lot of anything.
Sewage from the Ponte Vista site, no matter what is built there will flow to the City of Los Angeles Sewage Treatment Plant on Terminal Island.
There is another Outfall System in our future, our closer-than-you-may-think future.
The new plant discussed in the article still will use the Outfall System or large pipes in the tunnel that dates back to about 1957.
The new Outfall System is being considered and studied because the two existing tunnels/pipes are at or near capacity and the third Outfall System is coming to provide relief to the existing systems.
The Draft Environmental Impact Report for the new Outfall System was originally announced to have its publishing and distribution date this fall.
What will really matter to the discussions related to Ponte Vista is where the new Outfall System and its access points will be located. Several of the sites in the Initial Study allowed for the new tunnel to run closer to the existing structures under or near Western Avenue.
The massive 200 foot wide, up to 500 foot deep access pit required to place tunneling equipment underground and to remove earth to dig the tunnel will "HOPEFULLY" be placed at the old LAXT facility on Terminal Island. This would avoid problems placing that giant hole in a residential area.
It is also hoped that the new tunnel will not be dug anywhere near Western Ave. and be placed in a straighter line from the Treatment Plant in Carson and the Pacific Ocean.
A problem with that placement is the possibility of needing to deal with a large number of wells that have been drilled in Carson and Wilmington over the decades.
I was about 5 year's old when we got connected to the sewer system and got to see and help fill in the old septic tank that was right outside our kitchen window.
When one is five, one does not tend to ponder where one's poop goes and to think it only went as far as our backyard was fascinating. Watching the workers dig up Trudie Drive for the big sewer line was interesting and watching how our home's new line past the cesspool and out to the street was dug and placed was downright fun for me, as I remember the bits and pieces.
The article indicates when the estimated completion could occur. I don't think it is wise for anyone to bet on it or any date close to it. The article also included reasons for unexpected delays and I don't feel comfortable that the rest of the project will run completely expectantly.
Four chambers in a pit dug 35 feet deep, right near the corner is something.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Odds and Ends 133

"Anonymous 7:53 PM" may have provided a 'tell' about their identity with the comment to the previous post.

I do thank "Anonymous 7:53 PM" for the updates and he or she provided some new information that may become more important as time passes.

Any reliable suggestion that Mr. Fentin and the Outreach Team will come out with a plan with fewer than 1,395 total unts would be a step that some folks may find to put them into the support column, instead of the apathetic or opposition columns.

But I am sticking with no more than 832 total units.

On Thursday I talked with two individuals who supported the original plans and the second set of plans for Ponte Vista.

They both continue to strongly support having some Senior Housing in the Project and I continue to support having some Senior Housing at Ponte Vista.

I don't know of anyone who has favored some Senior Housing at Ponte Vista now opposing that concept.

Of course there are still a large number of members of OUR community who do not support any Senior Housing being at Ponte Vista.

There may be some in OUR community who favored some Senior Housing but now would let that type of housing go in order to finally get to a project that can get approved.

I don't believe the L.A. City Planning Department has changed its position opposing Senior Housing at Ponte Vista even though the most recently revealed concepts moved that section from the northern part of the property to the southwest portion of the site.

Summer may be winding down, but it is not over yet and neither are some great activities we all might enjoy.

I continue to let folks know about the TriArt Festival being produced by Mr. Joe Caccavalla during the weekend of September 12-13 in downtown San Pedro.

Joe was one of the founding members of the Senior Advisory Board of Ponte Vista at San Pedro and even though we disagree on what should be included at Ponte Vista, he is a great fellow who is attempting to bring more festivals, art, culture, and people to the downtown area of San Pedro. is the Web site for the weekend event.

It doesn't matter on which 'side' of the Ponte Vista issues you are on when it comes to supporting the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

On September 12, John and Debbie Sue Stinson are hosting a fundraiser for the Aquarium at their home.

Terri and I are volunteering to work one of the fun games at the event which will also include a silent auction, raffles, art giveaways, food, and entertainment.

It is a good cause to support, but space is limited. If you would like to attend the event, please Email me at so I can fill you in.

Ms. Kristina Smith runs Pedro at: and you can find plenty of information about upcoming events in and around OUR community.

For the last two Thursdays we who live on or near The Hill have had to contend with brush fires.

Both fires were caused by things other than arson but that doesn't mean we can't ignore what could be a very bad fire season in OUR community.

I don't think we should demand that folks working for or having business interests with Ponte Vista should be the only ones keeping eyes open about the potential for serious damage and injury on or near the property.

We who live near, drive by, or can view the Ponte Vista site and the Defense Fuel Supply Point need to remind ourselves that we should help keep watch for fires in both those areas.

I don't know if there are financial resources available at both sites to clear brush enough to really lower the potential danger should a fire break out in either area.

I doubt Ted and his backers have funds to spend on great amounts of brush clearance. Clearing brush from the Supply Point is on taxpayers' dimes and it doesn't look like there is money there, either.

Please help OUR community which is probably also YOUR community by looking for potential or real problems in the northwest San Pedro area. Of course there are also many other areas we need to keep watch on. Keeping watch is much better than watching fires or watching yourself or your neighbors lose their home to fire.

On a personal note, thank you so much to all of you who came to Warners on Wednesdays, the summer film series at the Warner Grand Theatre.

We will end our inaugural season with the movie, "Coraline" on September 9, 2009.

Two shows, one at 6:00 PM and the other at 9:00 PM will end the season which we hope will just be the first of many.

The price for a ticket to see "Coraline" is just $3.00. But if you wish to buy a "Date Night" Special, you will get two admissions, two small popcorn, and two small sodas for just $10.00. That's normally an $18.00 value for just one Alexander Hamilton!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Comment Earning Its Own Post

Here is a comment left by 'anonymous' to a previous post.
"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Odds and Ends 132":
per the next RPV staff report: a revised EIR for Ponte Vista is going to be circulated by the City of LA by the end of the year. Mr. Fox met with Mr. Oswald and he said they are working on a new project that is less than 1,395 units. guess we'll just have to wait and see."
What makes this comment so very important to me is that it is the first reliable indication I have seen that illustrates that the new plan for Ponte Vista contains fewer than 1,395 units.
Mr. Oswald seems to be reasonable and realistic and believable. Mr. Fox has worked for the benefit of R.P.V. residents during all the processes related to Ponte Vista at San Pedro and he has proven to be a trustworthy person who has the best interests of our city at heart.
Now how many fewer units Mr. Ted Fentin is now considering is not known to me at this time. I can imagine it is no where near my idea of no more than 832 units, but it may turn out to be a number of units closer to 1,200. That number may be a trigger figure that would garner enough favor with Ms. Hahn and others to change their opinions on the Project.
Yes, we will just have to wait and see.
I hope that because this is September 1 and it is most probably the month that the Outreach Team will reveal and market the new plans, our wait and see time should shorten.