Friday, July 30, 2010

Odds and Ends 179

I guess I was too hopeful that last week's Odds and Ends would be the last before the opening of Amalfitano Bakery.
I have heard that it will be very soon though and it could even happen this weekend or perhaps this coming Monday.
Developments and projects still are having trouble all around, it seems and Ponte Vista at San Pedro is more the norm rather than the exception.
There remains continued thankfulness among many that the first phase was not begun and that the site was not occupied by renters and residents who lease units.
Terri and I hope all of you are having a fine and mild summer to this point. Every time it looks like the heat will be turned on and left on, the morning gloom comes back to help with our electric bills.
It may be amazing to some that summer will be over in about a month and 23+ days and then fall begins.
Whether there will be an extended period of very hot weather during the remainder of the summer is something we can ponder. If it comes, then we probably should be grateful that it came so late in the summer and remember the milder temps as we swelter on the north side of 9th Street, waiting for the fall Santa Ana winds and fires that are burning now and in the future.
It will be interesting to learn what the new Director of Los Angeles City Planning Department thinks about large developments in the city and particularly Ponte Vista.
I feel there is much we owe to the former Director in helping our community stave off over development through a time when such developments are grinding to a halt and many of them are become debris-strewn ghost areas.
We have lived with the blight at Ponte Vista and it still seems better to me to have it rather than a partially built settlement that has both completed structures and incomplete building.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Villaraigosa Names New Planning Director For L.A.

This is from The Daily Breeze.

Villaraigosa names new planning director for L.A.
By Rick Orlov Staff Writer
Posted: 07/26/2010 06:33:32 PM PDT

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday nominated a 15-year city veteran to serve as the next planning director.

Michael LoGrande, 39, the city's chief zoning administrator, was tapped to succeed S. Gail Goldberg as the head of a department that has struggled with severe budget problems in recent years.

"What I hope I can do is get people to understand the planning process and get involved," LoGrande said after a news conference.

The nomination has to be approved by the City Council. Councilman Ed Reyes, who chairs the council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee, said he hopes to hold hearings in the next several weeks.

The salary has not been set, but Goldberg was paid more than $212,000.

LoGrande lives in Long Beach and got his start in urban planning after the Northridge earthquake, where he oversaw a land use survey of the damage and was responsible for the department's emergency response team. He has held a variety of jobs in the department, from streamlining the agency's processes, interacting with community groups and reviewing applications for conditional-use permits, tentative tract maps and parcel maps.

- Rick Orlov
The departing Director, Ms. Gail Goldberg was a champion of reasonable growth and her phrase "planning has to mean something" worked well when thinking about Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

I hope Mr. LoGrande has similar views as Ms. Goldberg and I think we should all wish Ms. Goldberg much success and happiness in her next adventure in planning.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

San Pedro's Vue Complex In Receivership

San Pedro's Vue Complex In Receivership is the title of an article linked below:

The real estate market is still in big trouble and I have been told that it will be at least somewhere into 2011 that we might see enough of a nudge to suggest that the nightmare may be winding down.

Some others suggest we are in for another 3-4 years of real problems.

The real point about drawing anything out of the article and then pondering Ponte Vista is the issue of unit sales versus leases and rental units.

It now looks clearer than ever, had Bob Bisno found no opposition to his original plans for Phase 1 of Ponte Vista at San Pedro, we might now be passing one completed building among a debris-strewn construction area and the completed units, originally considered to be for sale Senior Housing, would most likely be leased or rented units to any age persons.

Bob would have gone belly up sooner than he did and there would be no need for even a project trailer remaining on the site, I believe.

Yes, the 245 duplexes are a terrible sight and many of us have called on the city of L.A. to enforce codes at Ponte Vista they don't seem to wish to enforce.

But please remember, first responders from all over California and from many parts of the country come to Ponte Vista to exercise their skills in urban environment tactics. So the owners of the site are doing good while they are doing nothing and the goats don't seem to mind that, one bit.

Unless the coyotes run amok among them.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Odds and Ends 178

If all goes well, the next Odds and Ends will include my impressions of the opening of Amalfitano Bakery.
An inspection scheduled for earlier this week was supposed to be the decision point activity that Mr. Anthony Amalfitano would use to learn when he would open his Bakery.
Yes, I know a cannoli is not such a great treat to consume with my new eating program. But I think we can all enjoy a treat from time to time and I don't feel one cannoli will hurt my continuing weight loss and I will make greater efforts to place more exercise into days and weeks following whatever treats I choose to enjoy.
There is still quite a bit of construction-related equipment and items near the intersection of Avenida Aprenda and Western Avenue. With the giant pipes above ground at this time, the completion of the entire project is still some time away.
I have published a post about the most recent San Ramon Canyon Stabilization Project Update Meeting at my: site and that project is of some importance with regard to transit routes that could be affected in the northwest San Pedro area and the eastern and southern portions of Rancho Palos Verdes.
The potential continues to exist that if a significant rainfall pattern comes during a future rainy season and the stabilization project is not completed or an interim stabilization structure is not placed, we all could face greater traffic challenges, even along Western Avenue.
I have read, heard, or seen nothing of note, newly discovered about Ponte Vista at San Pedro and whether the current status of the project has been updated.
I really haven't expected to see any real updates because it continues to look like the real estate market remains bad and the most recent local residential development news has focused on single-family houses being considered in the Chandler area of Rolling Hills Estates.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Odds and Ends 177

I may just be that between this post and next Friday's Odds and Ends there could be a post celebrating the opening of Amalfitano Bakery. I shall keep my fingers crossed.
Is the fence that surrounded the Sanitation Districts pumping station still not noticeable?

I saw several K-rails on the curb and I hope if they are not gone by now, they soon will be.
Save Our Cities III, organization opposed to the initiative concerning The Marymount Plan is looking to speak to groups of folks who want to learn more about why they oppose passage of the ballot initiative.

Save Our Cities III (SOCIII) has not taken a position on whether on-campus student housing should be built on Marymount's campus. The group is strongly opposed to the proposed new ordinance that would be created by passage of the measure that would change the General Plan of Rancho Palos Verdes, take aways some rights and responsibilities provided to the City Council by voters who elected them to represent all residents of the city and also because The Marymount Plan mandates a radical departure to land use issues that are historic to the founding of Rancho Palos Verdes and could mean a non-returnable change in how and by whom land use codes, and requirements are kept in the city of Rancho Palos Verdes.
Hot and muggy enough for you yet? Earlier this morning (Friday) we got a short downpour from Mother Nature. I guess she probably felt sad that San Pedro Hill is only about 1,260 feet tall and not really a mountain where she normally dumps late afternoon rain showers.

I guess her early morning downpour was not much more than a reminder for her not to forget the little hills who want to be mountains.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Have You Noticed What Is No Longer Noticeable?

Existence as we have known it for years and through the change of decades has recently been altered in a fashion so many of us could only have dreamed about, yet thought would never happen.

Now there is no telling how long this new existence will last because we have seen at least one time when the change described in this post has been done, only to find things reverting back to the status quo.

If you noticed what can be passed by without much notice though not to notice what is no longer noticeable is probably a reasonable observation, should not be taken as any fault on your part.

For so very long the now unnoticeable had been noticed by so many that all notices were taken for granted and no real change was considered fathomable by a great number of us.

Yet in the dreams of many, noticing what is now reality, was something anticipated, hoped for, begged for, and demanded of.

The fencing around the pumping station has been removed.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Odds and Ends 176

When my sister Ruth is amazed about the upcoming auction at Silver Spur Court, that is something quite remarkable to me.

She commented about the huge loss between the former asking prices of the units and what the minimum bids may be, when the units go up for auction.

Ruth doesn't normally comment with excitement over the prices of condos and housing so it was something of a small shock to hear her with regards to the foreclosed project in Rolling Hills Estates.

I am wondering if she gets excited about something like this, what are folks considering when and what to do regarding potential condos at Ponte Vista at San Pedro are thinking.
We are getting wind of another 'push poll' either having begun or almost here regarding Marymount College's ballot measure and attempts to have on-campus housing at the College.

This news reminds me about the poll paid for by Bob Bisno related to Ponte Vista at San Pedro and how the outcome of that poll was immediately questioned and how Bob and the pollster he hired had a meeting with the public and press about the poll and how its results differed so drastically with what members of the community were saying out loud and in small numbers.

I remember the events surrounding the meeting regarding the results of the poll and how Bob Bisno admitted he wrote as least one of the questions asked and how he would not answer specific questions about poll results.

Bob is long gone and I doubt that any future developers of the Ponte Vista site would try something like that again.

But it looks as if supporters of Marymount's plan to have voters approve dorms and create a new code that would allow Marymount's Specific Plan zone to supersede municipal codes found in conflict with Marymount's Plan may try their own 'push poll'.

Is this deja vu all over again? I hope not but I think it is something we all should be leery of.

The press and community members found quickly that the results of Bob's poll were probably pre-determined due to the questions created and the possible responses provided.

It is going around that similar things may be afoot with the new poll and I think many of us are ready to learn whether it is an objective poll or something Marymount's pollsters already are prepared to publish due to their knowledge of what they expect to find.

Is this type of poll uncommon? No way! It is done all the time, whether we like it or not.

What should we make of it? If it is a 'push poll', one created to 'push' respondents to answers that the creators want the respondents to have, then we all need to be skeptical and on our toes.

What else might a poll of this type do? It is suspected at this point, that some questions may be geared at either defaming some groups or individuals opposed to The Marymount Plan. There could be questions and comments from those calling registered voters that may tend to allow the respondent to have a negative impression or opinion about possibly City Council members because of their 5-0 vote to oppose The Marymount Plan.

There could be negative comments steered towards having respondents opine in a negative manner about individuals other than representatives of Rancho Palos Verdes, but probably not be because I am really a nobody. The folks that may be targeted may represent homeowners or opposition groups to Marymount's Special Election ballot measure.

If you haven't followed the recently increased drama with its letter to the city regarding a potential violation of The Brown Act and a letter by a Council member to the California State Bar dealing with the law firm that wrote the first letter, then you may have been missing something that may interest you.

It looks like between now and November 2, 2010 it going to get hotter with these issues than any issue we have dealt with regarding Ponte Vista at San Pedro.
Unfortunately, there is one particular individual who was completely rotten during a part of the discussions and letter to the editor writing periods regarding Ponte Vista and he is more than a little involved with the Marymount debate.

I hope he doesn't write what he wrote when he wrote his horrible, disgusting, dishonest, miserable, and untrue letter dealing with those supporting Ponte Vista, if he writes about Marymount. We don't need that kind of letter or individual dirtying up the whole debate.
The time to smell the fresh baked breads and pastries wafting up from Amalfitano Bakery is approaching for us. The cases are lighted and looking ready to be filled.

Still no opening date has been posted.
The former liquor store site on Western Avenue just north of Caddington is going to house the mattress store that will be moving from just south of Caddington, pretty soon.
I was very happy to not hear much noise or see many fireworks in the Eastview areas as we watched lots of illegal fireworks down in The Highlands from our vantage point in the parking lot of The Terraces. There seemed to be two areas down along Barrywood that had fireworks and they didn't seem as outrageous as in years past with it looked like a fireworks war was going on closer to Barrywood and Capitol.
At last glance, the new theatre chain now showing movies on six screens at The Terraces has not raised their ticket prices and that is GREAT!

Of course a large diet soda and a large bag of popcorn was $10.50, but being a Senior and paying only $5.00 admission to a first run movie isn't that bad for after 6:00 PM.

The theatre continues its $4.00 per ticket for non-3D movies for everyone on Tuesdays and Thursdays AND Seniors get that deal also on Wednesdays.

Please shop and be entertained along Western Avenue, either in San Pedro or Rancho Palos Verdes. There are so many choices and good opportunities to shop locally and both cities can use the sales tax revenue.
East View or Eastview? Yes!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Another Nearby Condo Project Goes To Auction

Ms. Melissa Pamer reports in the July 7, 2010 edition of The Daily Breeze that a 18-unit luxury condominium project has found no buyers and is on the auction block.

Here is a link to the article:

Silver Spur Court was built but unable to court any buyers to the new building at the corner of Silver Spur Road and Crenshaw Blvd.

This may be an indication of why nothing is happening quickly at all with Ponte Vista at San Pedro and it is also a great example of what could have been for the site had Bob Bisno not been stopped in his tracks before any new building could occur.

It now seem almost certain that had Bob not found opposition to his idea to place at least 2,300-units along Western Avenue, he may have begun building the first phase only to run into the economic downturn that would have stopped his development.

We could have been looking at a site similar to what is found on the corner of Hawthorne Blvd. and Rolling Hills Road and that hillside turned into a horrible non-construction site.

Yes, we still have to deal with the blight that has been at Ponte Vista for over a decade. Yes, we still have to deal with not knowing what the future holds in store or when the future plans might be revealed.

But I would rather have what we have now than a closed-down construction site with contractors not receiving pay for work they started but didn't complete. We also don't have a partially built first phase that was first considered to be built along Western Avenue.

My thinking is that if we hear anything about what may be in store for Ponte Vista at San Pedro before 2011, that may be too early. I am looking towards the second quarter of next year unless the current owners find a buyer for the site to take it off their hands, in 2010.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Odds and Ends 175

From time to time over the past years, something pops up on a subscription Email alert that is part of Google.

I subscribe to Google Alerts regarding Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

Here is very old information that was linked on my Google Alerts this morning:
LLG Ponte Vista Traffic Study Appedix B-1.pdf
1-05-3554-1. Ponte Vista at San Pedro Project ... Future with Ponte Vista Project. CMA Data Worksheets. AM & PM Peak Hours ...,%20Project%20Traffi...

This is the actually from a traffic study published in 2006 where counts were taken in 2005.
The only point here is learning that sometimes Google Alerts offers links to not so current information and it is a good idea to check the information out before getting excited that something new is coming out via Google Alerts.
Some of the information contained in the Appendix B-1 can be very slightly considered now because of counts taken in 2005 and a significant point, also published in 2005 about the studied growth in traffic counts on Western Avenue.

The Western Avenue Task Force published their exhaustive and detailed study of traffic on Western Avenue between Palos Verdes Drive North, in Lomita and 25th Street, in San Pedro.
An important conclusion was stated in that study that indicated that, EVEN WITHOUT ANY DEVELOPMENT AT THE PONTE VISTA AT SAN PEDRO SITE, traffic counts were expected to increase at the rate of approximately 1.1 percent per year.

The study also concluded that in 2005 around the time of the publication of the study, there were about 37,500 vehicle trips counted along Western Avenue in the study's area of concern and the rate of increased vehicle trips per year was considered for a 20-year period of 'normal' area growth. The study used 2025 as its final year of study conclusions and for its summary.
It is now 2010, nothing is really new at Ponte Vista and there are no longer approximately 37,500 vehicles expected to be counted along Western Avenue.

It is expected that by the end of this year there will be 39,608 vehicles passing along Western Avenue on a roadway that has seen no changes in geometry and only synchronization of traffic signals.

Next year there will probably be over 40,000 vehicles traveling along Western Avenue, again with no geometric changes on Western but hopefully, the fencing around the pumping station MIGHT be removed.
The lights are on and the false ceiling is going up. The two new signs are up to allow folks who enjoy great baked goods to find Amalfitano Bakery.
This blog will begin to post more information, opinion, and other issues related to Marymount Colleges upcoming Initiative vote for its Marymount Plan.

If you find the information worthwhile and I hope you do, you can always visit. for much more information and postings that I don't feel should fill this blog too much.

But I do strongly feel that there would be great impact to traffic on Western Avenue and to residents living in eastern Rancho Palos Verdes and northwest San Pedro should The Marymount Plan's Initiative receive approval from Rancho Palos Verdes voters.

According to the traffic study for The Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project (with the on-campus student housing considered) there would be about 1,591 ADDITIONAL vehicle trips per year along Western Avenue between 9Th Street and Palos Verdes Drive North.

Since the original study was published, another Appendix was ordered and its traffic portion indicated that the number of yearly vehicle trips in the same area could actually increase to over 1,900.

Since any new on-campus housing approved by voters WOULD NOT MEAN that the college's Palos Verdes North off-campus student housing site would shut its doors and close down, traffic would INCREASE due to more students living on Marymount's Palos Verdes Drive East campus would drive to and from Western Avenue during any hour of the day or night, something that has never been done.

The additional approval that Marymount is now a four-year institution was done after the original traffic studies were published and it means upper class persons who would live in dorms will probably look and find work at the many businesses along Western Avenue and do other business, shopping, dining, or entertaining, when they are not in their dorm rooms.
I strongly support The Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project approved by the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council with its many improvements to the Marymount College campus and with its added opportunities that could allow all students and members of the community an enhanced education and better experiences.

I strongly oppose The Marymount Plan along with its Initiative because The Plan adds on-campus housing and stupilates a new municipal law benefitting only Marymount College, at the expense of the residents and the city of Rancho Palos Verdes and offers just about everything else already approved by the City Council.