Monday, September 27, 2010

A Statement From an iStar Manager

Here is a post from

The site is owned by Ponte Vista and it claims to be the official Ponte Vista at San Pedro site.
I don't have any problem with that and I never have.

This blog predates the site from where this post came from and the more information everyone has about Ponte Vista at San Pedro, the better all of us can enjoy a successful new development in our community, I feel.

Statement by Steve Magee, Vice President, iStar Financial regarding Ponte Vista project
Sep 24th, 2010 by Ponte Vista

As the new owners of the Ponte Vista site, iStar Financial is committed to working with the community to ensure that the project reflects the unique character of the Harbor Area. We are committed to a high quality, residential development with a mix of housing types, including; townhomes, condominiums, and apartments that will be accessible to a variety of households and income levels. We are responding to community concerns raised over density and we will be proposing fewer than half the number of homes initially proposed by the original owner. Even at this lower unit count, the plan still provides an abundance of open space and public walking trails, a new park to serve all area residents, and a road from Western Avenue to Mary Star of the Sea High School for students, parents and faculty.

We know the community shares our desire to improve this blighted piece of property with a development that addresses San Pedro’s needs for high quality and mixed income housing, while employing local workers to build the project. As we finalize the site plans and begin the process of getting Ponte Vista built, we look forward to ongoing conversations with our neighbors, Councilwoman Hahn, and the community.

iStar Financial has a global reputation for integrity and expertise in the real estate market. We have carefully reviewed the strengths and weaknesses of the previous plans, and look forward to working closely with the community to create a new vision for Ponte Vista. Working together, we can build a project that benefits all of the residents of the Harbor area. “
I also posted a Bloomberg News article on a previous post that mentions the possibility that iStar Financial may see bankruptcy protection in the near future.

I also read an article in these last several days about iStar Financial purchasing the common areas of a housing development back east.

It is better to work with the folks representing Ponte Vista at San Pedro than fighting against them. In these last several months I have been feeling better about being able to work with them, always remembering the battles and turmoils of "The Bob Years".

I hope we don't go back there however prepared we are to do so.

Friday, September 24, 2010

An Article From Bloomberg News

IStar Said to Weigh Pre-Packaged Bankruptcy Filing Next Year
By Jeffrey McCracken and Jonathan Keehner - Sep 21, 2010 2:40 PM PT

IStar Financial Inc., the commercial real estate lender trying to restructure some of its $8.6 billion of debt, may seek bankruptcy protection after creditors blocked it from amending loans, said people with knowledge of the plan. IStar fell 13 percent.

The company expects to begin meeting with creditors in coming weeks to discuss potential terms of a so-called pre- packaged bankruptcy, which wouldn’t occur until sometime next year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plan isn’t public. IStar, led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jay Sugarman, hasn’t yet held talks with creditors on a possible bankruptcy. That process is likely to begin as soon as next month, the people said.
IStar, which has a market capitalization of about $316 million after shares lost more than 90 percent of their value since 2007, hired Lazard Ltd. and Kirkland & Ellis LLP to advise on the debt restructuring, the people said.

The New York-based company made loans on properties including the Trump SoHo hotel- condominium building in lower Manhattan.

“IStar grew as the markets shot up and concentrated in asset classes that are particularly cyclical such as hotels and construction,” said Ben Thypin, an analyst at Real Capital Analytics Inc. in New York. “Their fortunes are closely tied to the market and their future is now uncertain.”

Bankruptcy is one option the company is weighing. It is also considering a proposal to extend maturities on its debt as well as a potential exchange offer, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Silver Point, Monarch

Andrew Backman, a spokesman for iStar, didn’t return a phone call or an e-mail message seeking comment. Sugarman didn’t return a call.

Hedge funds that hold some of iStar’s $2.9 billion of second-lien loans include Silver Point Capital LP, Davidson Kempner Capital Management LLC and Monarch Alternative Capital LP, according to two of the people. Some of the funds, which are represented by Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP, opposed iStar’s bid to amend terms of the loans to repurchase debt at a discount, the people said.

IStar withdrew the proposed revision and has begun the process of planning for a potential bankruptcy as it is faced with about $2.6 billion in debt coming due next June, one of the people said. The company also has an optional $500 million first-lien debt payment due at the end of September that it may not make, according to the person.


In a pre-packaged bankruptcy, a company negotiates terms of a reorganization with its key stakeholders before filing for Chapter 11 protection, allowing the proceedings to finish in weeks or months rather than years.

Representatives of Lazard, Akin Gump and Silver Point declined to comment. Representatives of Kirkland, Davidson Kempner and Monarch didn’t return messages for comment.

The company had net debt obligations of $8.6 billion as of June 30, according to a regulatory filing last month. IStar had about $3 billion of non-performing loans as of June 30 and reported an $83.4 million second-quarter loss, excluding income from property sales.

“Convincing lenders that iStar can repay its obligations in full at some point down the road appears to be a tough sell due to uncertainty around the value of its collateral,” analysts at debt-research firm CreditSights Inc. wrote in a report last month. “Negative earnings continue to be driven by the weak credit performance of iStar’s portfolio.”

Credit Rating

IStar foreclosed on nine properties during the second quarter and said loss reserves totaled $1.18 billion, or about 16 percent of the loan volume it manages.

The company, a real estate investment trust, began in 1993 and was previously called Starwood Financial Trust.

IStar’s debt and equity plunged in the second half of 2007 as commercial-property prices fell and capital markets seized up as losses on subprime-mortgage securities spread to corporate bonds. Moody’s Investors Service in September 2008 cut the company’s credit rating to below investment grade.

While iStar shares have risen more than 36 percent this year, investors who held the stock from the end of 2007 would have lost about 85 percent.

IStar fell 53 cents, or 13 percent, to $3.48 as of 4:07 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, after reaching $2.88 earlier today.

The firm’s $501.7 million of 8.625 percent bonds due in 2013 fell 5.6 cents to 78 cents on the dollar, the lowest since March, according to Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. IStar’s $448.4 million of 5.95 percent bonds due in 2013 fell 3 cents to 75 cents on the dollar, according to Trace.

“The firm should not become insolvent and has ample liquidity to operate through 2010, but management faces a significant challenge with $3 billion in debt coming due in 2011 and $3.5 billion due in 2012,” Standard & Poor’s said July 30.

S&P earlier said it believed there was a “likelihood” the real estate investment trust would use a so-called distressed exchange to restructure the debt maturing next year and in 2012.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jeffrey McCracken in New York at; Jonathan Keehner in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeff St.Onge in London at; Alec McCabe in New York at

Odds and Ends 187

I don't usually post newspaper articles before they come out in the day's newspaper, but since I am quoted in the article, I think you know that I knew what was coming out.

Here is today's article by Ms. Donna Littlejohn regarding the newest plan for Ponte Vista at San Pedro:

Ponte Vista developers offer new scaled-back plan
By Donna Littlejohn Staff Writer
Posted: 09/23/2010 07:08:13 PM PDT
Updated: 09/23/2010 07:28:51 PM PDT

After months of silence, developers of San Pedro's controversial Ponte Vista housing project have announced another revision that further reduces the number of homes proposed.
They also indicated an entire new round of traffic and other studies will be conducted on the new proposal for the site, which has been vacant since 1997.

The latest incarnation - which already has a received favorable reaction from Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn - calls for 1,135 homes to be built on the 62.5-acre former Navy housing site on Western Avenue.

That's less than half the original number - 2,300 homes - proposed in 2005. But it's still higher than than the 800 to 900 homes that many critics had called for to keep the development within its current zoning.

"My thoughts are it's higher than my particular preference of 831, which is the equivalent of the housing density of the Gardens (a nearby San Pedro town house project)," said Mark Wells, a long-standing and early critic of Ponte Vista.

But he added that the scaled-down numbers may be enough to finally move the stalled project forward.

"I am certainly encouraged by the new management team's ability to work with the community and to come up with better plans," Wells said.

John Stinson of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council said the new housing proposal is "a nice place to start negotiations from" but that the issue "is still about protecting our quality of life here in San Pedro and on the Peninsula."

In a written statement, Hahn said she was encouraged by a private meeting she'd had recently with iStar Financial, the owner of the Ponte Vista property.

"... This number is much closer to what makes sense in this part of San Pedro," she said.
As part of the revised proposal, a new environmental impact report - which will include new traffic studies - will now be done. That will take about a year.

Steve Magee, vice president of iStar Financial, said in a written statement that developers were "committed to working with the community to ensure that the project reflects the unique character of the Harbor Area."

While no details or drawings have been released, Magee said the project will be of "high quality" with a mix of housing types, including "town homes, condominiums and apartments" for a range of income levels.

Stinson said whatever happens next, "it should be an open, public and transparent" process.
Ponte Vista has been mired in controversy since former developer Bob Bisno first rolled out the plans five years ago.

Bisno Development, which had become a lightening rod in the community during Ponte Vista's first few years, was bumped from the project in December 2008. Credit Suisse and DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners took over the project after that and, in April 2009, the Los Angeles Planning Commission directed developers to work more with the community to bring the housing numbers down.

Five months ago, iStar took the reins and has been reviewing alternatives since then.

Traffic and housing density have been the major sticking points with critics who say Western Avenue already is too congested.

But the project also has had its supporters in the community who contend that more housing stock, especially for seniors wishing to downsize, is needed.

Meanwhile, the stretch of abandoned Navy housing at 26900 S. Western Ave., across from Green Hills Memorial Park and just south of Palos Verdes Drive North, has become an eyesore in the northwest part of town.

In a 2007 letter published in the Daily Breeze, Wells called building 1,950 units on the property "irresponsible, unreasonable, unrealistic and, most importantly, disrespectful to the community. ..."

Will a reduction to 1,135 homes be enough to mollify critics?

Perhaps, he said, although it will depend on the new studies that are yet to be done.

"I wonder if most of us on the board (of the opposition organization) will simply kind of travel into the sunset after we make our comments," Wells said.

Others, like Stinson, aren't so sure.

When Hahn called him Thursday to advise him of the new proposal, Stinson said, "I tried to curb my enthusiasm. ... I was wondering when the issue would rise again like a monster from the deep."
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What I talked to both Councilwoman Hahn and Ms. Littlejohn about included my thoughts that Ponte Vista at San Pedro should have the same housing density as The Gardens, nearby.

The Gardens is an 1,100-unit condominium development on 80 acres of land and residents there have much greater access to Gaffey Street, thus usually avoiding having to take Western Avenue.

To have an equivalent housing density as The Gardens, Ponte Vista's 61.53 acres should have no more than 831-units, in my opinion.

My opinion isn't really going to change on the number, but I doubt that I will strenuously oppose 1,135-units at this time.

What I really need to see if that no density bonuses could be applied for by future owners of the site, should iStar Financial simply be granted the entitlements and then sell them off to other groups who could seek a density bonus of up to a 35% increase in the number of units approved for construction by the Los Angeles City Council.

A 35% increase in the now-planned Ponte Vista community could create a new neighborhood of up to 1,532-units.

I think there is still great opposition to having as many as 1,532-units built at Ponte Vista so I am hoping Councilwoman Hahn will be successful in attempting to find ways to prevent future landowners from building any more than 1,135-units at Ponte Vista, if that is the number voted approval for.

I am very encouraged that a brand new traffic study will be conducted as part of a new Environmental Impact Report for the project.

Much of the information that needs to be gathered in the traffic study will focus on the anticipated number of daily vehicle trips on Western Avenue resulting from a completed Ponte Vista project.

Since 2005 it has been estimated that daily vehicle trips along Western Avenue on portions from Palos Verdes Drive North to 25Th Street have increased about 1,900 daily trips per weekday.

The increase is based on the Western Avenue Task Force's finding that in 2005 there were about 37,500 daily vehicle trips along Western Avenue and that there will be a 1% growth each year in that rate, until at least 2025.

What is also very important to note and remember is that during the studies conducted for the Western Avenue Task Force's report, summary, and recommendations is that NO NEW vehicle trips were estimated for Ponte Vista because it was not being considered for development when the Task Force did its work.

So what we need to focus on is both the reality of what is going on today along Western and the accurate study of potential daily trips generated for a 1,135-unit Ponte Vista development.

Traffic will continue to be the number one issue regarding whatever is built at Ponte Vista.

I will write more in the future about some of the things that were talked about over the years and perhaps we can all work together to find more ways to deal with the expected huge increase in traffic.
Personally I am becoming more and more embroiled in the Marymount College issues relating to its development projects.

A recent full page advertisement by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Marymount College has, some folks believe, singled me out for critisism of The Marymount Plan and Measure P.

Naturally I am critical of something I oppose. I really didn't feel all that bad about Mr. Arnold's inclusion of "online blogging" about The Marymount Plan in his 'letter to the editor' which was not really a letter to any editor but was actually the first of two full pages Marymount College paid for in Thursday's Palos Verdes Peninsula News.

I trudge on though, with my: postings. I must be making some difference if I am now considered slightly more than a nobody in Marymount's eyes.
I want all of you to come and enjoy "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" opening on November 12 at the historic Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro.

I know I stated that I was done being onstage focusing more on my backstage job as the carpenter in residence of the Relevant Stage Theatre Company.

But I played a man of the cloth last year onstage and the new show has a preacher's role that I just could not pass up.

Playing preachers onstage and doing ministerial duties (not often) in real life is something that takes me away from things like Ponte Vista and Marymount College.
So, who has NOT been to Amalfitano Bakery yet? I know there are some folks out there who have not stood in line for some of their great treats.

Please visit all the shopping and dining opportunities in Rancho Palos Verdes and I will continue to shop in San Pedro, too.
Summer has officially FALLen away and autumn is here.

The days are now growing shorter but there are still lots of activities, events, and issues to keep everyone able to participate in many things.

The next meeting about the U.S.S. Iowa is in early October and should it or another former Naval vessel (Amphibious Assault Ship/Carrier) come to our port, it could provide jobs, volunteer work, a new tourist attraction, and some very needed revitalization to the downtown area and just about all of San Pedro and eastern Rancho Palos Verdes, I believe.

We can't stop the future so we should prepare for it and be active in it when it becomes our present.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Odds and Ends 186

It still seem a little bit remarkable that it took over 5 years for someone to touch a button right next to another button and reach me instead of the Ponte Vista at San Pedro offices.

I have received so many fewer calls during the years compared to the Ponte Vista site.

I have no idea if or how many people trying to reach Terri or me has instead, had their calls picked up by someone at the trailers just east of Western Avenue.
If you saw an advertisement in a newspaper or read anything supporting Measure P, The Marymount Plan that just might make it appear that Rancho Palos Verdes City Councilman Anthony Misetich supports Measure P, The Marymount Plan, he DOES NOT!

Councilman Misetich was one of the five members of the five-member City Council to approve The Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project and to the best of my knowledge and after talking to him on many occasions and hearing his many comments during City Council meetings, Councilman Misetich opposes on-campus student housing at Marymount College and that is really one of the only reasons Measure P, and The Marymount Plan was created in the first place.
Today marks the end of the first week of classes at LAUSD schools, including the ones near Western Avenue.

If you travel along Western Avenue, you must have noticed that traffic got worse and delays got longer.

It is time for those of us who can use alternate routes to avoid adding to the woes of those who must utilize Western Avenue, to do so.

Any number of fewer cars and drivers on Western, especially from about noon to about 7:00 PM each weekday, helps. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It FINALLY Happened!

Many people know that my phone number is different by one digit from the Ponte Vista at San Pedro's site office.

I got my phone number in 1998 and the trailers were wired for their phone number in 2005.

When I first learned that the two numbers were so similar, I 'knew' someone would misdial the phone number for Ponte Vista at San Pedro and get me, instead.

If finally happened at about 10:20 this morning.

A pleasant woman who allowed me to inform her of her 'first ever' was trying to reach Ms. Elise Swanson, Vice-President in charge of the Ponte Vista site and also an active member of our local Chamber of Commerce.

The woman asked to speak to Elise and she chuckled when I told her that she was the first person in over five years to try and reach Elise and have me answer my phone.

Naturally I explained the difference in our phone numbers and told her about how to reach Ms. Swanson.

Since "The Bob Years" are relegated to the bad memories/sad memories/ridiculous memories area of history, I hope everyone has much better feelings and attitudes about what might eventually become of Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

The management there is wonderful in allowing first responder training and the eco-friendly method of weed mitigation.

It is amazing that it took five years for me to experience my first mis-dial and I can only guess that those on all sides of the issues are careful and pretty darn smart!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Odds and Ends 185

If you have been following the most recent events in newspapers or on blogs, surrounding the two lawsuits recently heard, about ballot arguments for Measure P, The Marymount Plan, it gets more juicy,

Judge David Yaffe ruled on Wednesday that Marymount's Rebuttal of Arguments Against Measure P contained a statement he found false and misleading.

Judge Yaffe ruled that the following had to be removed from the upcoming voter information pamphlet for the November 2, Special Election:

(The passage of Measure P) "guarantees that Marymount College meets all City codes and obtains City permits with strict construction time limits , for every part of the plan."

Along with that ruling, Judge Yaffe, earlier in the hearings ruled the following to NOT be false and/or misleading as contained in the Argument Against Measure P:

"-The Initiative eliminates City oversight. The Initiative supersedes the Municipal Code making Marymount a land use island, preventing your locally elected leaders from addressing many issues that arise in the future. The City Council imposed conditions that allow the City to monitor the development and operation of the campus to avoid adverse impacts on the City's residents. The Initiative will eliminate these conditions. The Initiative largely exempts Marymount from the same rules that apply to all other landowners in Rancho Palos Verdes."

The attorney for Marymount argued that because passage of Measure P would 'amend' municipal code, it didn't necessarily supersede it. HOWEVER, that attorney, Mr. Gough acknowledged in open court that some elements of the Campus Specific Plan zone would supersede some municipal codes.

Judge Yaffe followed a quote from Thomas Jefferson that opined that open debate and discussion between people should prevail in determining what is believable on a level playing field. This basically means that we all have our First Amendment rights to say what we wish to say and to discuss issues and the factual merits of those issues.

But Marymount sent out a tri-fold mailer asking for support of Measure P with the following bullet point almost smack dab in the middle of the inside:

"Strict time limits for construction , from the city for every part of the plan."

The timing of the delivery of the mailer seems to indicate that it was probably mailed after both lawsuits were filed and that somebody at Marymount didn't consider that their position could lose in court and they didn't bother to hold off on sending it out before Judge Yaffe's rulings.

The only remedy persons have against receiving a mailer with false and misleading information carried in it is to tell others about the facts and allow them the opportunity to make up their own minds on whether to support something or oppose it.
Naturally many of us who have dealt with both Ponte Vista during "The Bob Years" and who are currently dealing with Marymount College's Project and Plan during what can now probably be called "The Michael Years" have used these times to learn and become much more educated as to what is false, misleading, deceptive, not factual, argumentative, and just plain wrong.

This is a good thing from me and others to learn more about what to look for at Marymount and whatever is in store for the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site.

I think the current management and financial team for Ponte Vista at San Pedro also have learned about the fact that more folks can sniff out the B.S. and they have actually done a few things to make better attempts at not offering B.S. and I applaud them for that.

"The Bob Years" are truly in the past, it seems. As Martha might say, "that is a good thing."
We learned that a meeting planned for more discussion concerning the U.S.S. Iowa to our harbor has been delayed.

While I do support bringing the U.S.S. Iowa here, I think you have had a chance to read about my 'better' idea on what type of Naval vessel could come to our port.
Monday the 13th could be a bit like a Friday the 13th in that this coming Monday the 13th welcomes Dodson Intermediate, Taper Avenue, Cooper Community Day, Park Western Place, Crestwood, and other LAUSD schools beginning a new term.

Traffic along Western will again be greatly affected by the opening of these schools so let's all take our calming mantras, yoga sessions, drugs, or attitudes and use them as we try to travel along Western which has seen about a 1 percent increase in traffic since September, 2009.
Those of us living in the Western View Homes neighborhood of Eastview and those using Trudie but not living in the neighborhood would like everyone attempting on leaving the parking lot for Western Plaza, especially the "millions" of good people swarming into and out of Amalfitano Bakery to use routes out of the parking lot other than the two driveways on Trudie Drive.

There are three other exits and entrances for Western Plaza including one with a signal at the intersection of the parking lot, Western Avenue, and Park Western Drive.

It is so much easier on everyone if folks choose those alternate routes rather than trying to get onto or off of Trudie Drive.

This is especially true for those attempting to exit Western Plaza then head north on Western Avenue.

There are remedies available through the city of Rancho Palos Verdes to have the entrances and exits changed and I hope we don't have to head the about 8 miles to our City Hall or the 12 miles to the Council chambers to seek legal relief to the added congestion now found at the intersection of Trudie and Western.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Why Not The U.S.S. Tarawa?

While the battle for the U.S.S. Iowa is being fought, I still must contend that is a battle about and for the wrong battleground.

The U.S.S. Tarawa would allow for a great many more opportunities for static displays by all the branches of the service, larger physical areas for displays in order to gather more opportunity for volunteerism and tourists as well as greater educational opportunities, all in a better-spaced warship, than the U.S.S. Iowa.

The U.S.S. Tarawa is an amphibious assault carrier with a flight deck, hangar deck, amphibious landing deck, island, and many more decks more similar to modern day Naval vessels than what is found on and within the U.S.S. Iowa.

The U.S.S. Tarawa was decommissioned by the U.S. Navy in 2009 and is moored in Pearl Harbor awaiting final disposition by the Navy. So far, no group apparently has asked the Navy for the ship.

I have never found the lure in having a battleship as a historical display compared to a carrier-type warship that allows so many greater availabilities to share all of our military branches rather than just the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corp.

However, if the U.S.S. Tarawa is sold for scrap before it could be given to a group, there are similar ships of its class that either have been decommissioned or very soon will be.

The U.S.S. Tarawa is about 834 feet long compared to the U.S.S. Iowa which is about 888 feet long. This means that the U.S.S. Tarawa might find a better fit in our harbor.

San Pedro is not and was not just a "Navy town". There has been a U.S. Army fort named after Lt. General Arthur MacArthur here for almost 100 years.

Current members of the U.S. Air Force are now residents of San Pedro in several locations throughout the area.

The U.S. Coast Guard still has an installation and housing on Terminal Island and at Point Vicente.

While the old Navy housing still exists at Ponte Vista, when it housed families, some of those families were families of members of the United States Marine Corp.

When all the branches of our great military have lived, worked, or had interests in and around San Pedro, it should make sense that all of the branches could and should be represented in a historical place that has the opportunities to celebrate and honor all of the branches.

Such a place could be a small 'flat top", one with a flight deck, flat hangar deck, and docking deck to offer plenty of space for displays and honors for all the branches of the service.

A ship the size of the U.S.S. Iowa could not probably fit well on either side of Fisherman's Slip, but that is probably not the case with the U.S.S. Tarawa.

The U.S.S. Iowa is about 888 feet long with a beam of 108.2 feet while the length of the U.S.S. Tarawa is about 834 feet long with a beam of 106.6 feet. The U.S.S. Tarawa is shorter and narrower than the U.S.S. Iowa but has much, much more deck space and hangar deck space the U.S.S. Iowa never had.

Since there are so many fewer fishing boats now berthing at Fisherman's Slip, berthing an amphibious assault ship on the north side of Fisherman's Slip offers an almost complete package of display opportunities and the parking is already built and there are more than a few great business opportunities so very close at Ports O Call that is could find an unprecedented resurgence of business and tourism.

I also feel that there would be a much greater number of volunteer opportunities having a ship in San Pedro that could offer displays from all branches because veterans from every branch may want to work on the ship in or near where their branch has displays.

The U.S.S. Tarawa and her sister vessels are warships and they did and do carry guns. The service provided to our country by each one of the ships in the class the U.S.S. Tarawa can actually be documented as being greater than the service provided by the U.S.S. Iowa.

There are most likely greater histories of different types of service by the two true warships mentioned in types of service such as rescue efforts, civilian support during disasters, as well as multiple types of warfare including aircraft, landing assaults, missile deployment and usage, gunfire, and other means of warfare.

The U.S.S. Iowa demonstrated 'big gun' and cruise missile technology. The U.S.S. Tarawa demonstrated air technology, amphibious assault technology, missile technology, bomb and lighter gunnery technology, and more.

Apart form Pearl Harbor and its battleship on display, I wonder what the visitor comparisons are between displays involving aircraft carriers like the U.S.S. Midway and U.S.S. Intrepid, versus other battleship displays or other surface or submarine displays.

I feel quite comfortable that, as attractions, warships that have flight decks find greater numbers of visitors than any other type of warship on display, other than those revered at Pearl Harbor.

Another consideration is that there are many, many more Navy and Marine veterans who have served on amphibious assault carriers than there are former sailors and Marines who saw service on the four battleships of the U.S.S. Iowa class. This is in part to the fact that there were only four battleships within the class that the U.S.S. Iowa is in that saw real service beyond the 1950s and both classes of amphibious assault carriers of the U.S.S. Tarawa and U.S.S. Iwo Jima classes had more than four ships in each class built.

I believe that except for the U.S.S. Missouri, now berthed very near the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, no other battleship currently on display as an attractions draws anywhere near the number of people who board the U.S.S. Midway in San Diego and the U.S.S. Intrepid in New York Harbor.

Another consideration is that the entire Western Museum of Flight now located at Torrance Airport could easily fit on and inside the U.S.S. Tarawa and that Museum would find a much higher number of visitors that they now get annually and the planes are already close to the harbor.

It is very true that when looking at images of the U.S.S. Tarawa do not offer as much 'might', 'power' and 'offense' that the big guns of the U.S.S. Iowa could offer, but the U.S.S. Tarawa or another ship in its class is newer and would provide San Pedro with a much better attraction, in my opinion.

Odds and Ends 184

After doing quite a little pondering, I have decided to alter this blog, just a bit.

I hope readers don't mind.

One of my other Blogs is San Pedro Issues To Ponder. I haven't been good at all updating that blog and with not much going on at or with issues relating directly to Ponte Vista, I hope folks don't get upset if I meld the two blogs together, on this blog, until the time activities and issues more related to Ponte Vista at San Pedro ramp up....if they do.
Matters relating to Ponte Vista at San Pedro should be of some importance of residents of a wide area of the communities surround the Ponte Vista site.

Both San Pedro and Rancho Palos Verdes have 'intimate' relationships with everything about Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

Lomita, Harbor City, Rolling Hills Estates, Wilmington, and to some extent, Palos Verdes Estates and Rolling Hills all have residents who are interested in what may happen to the 61.53 acre Ponte Vista at San Pedro property.
To really begin this now-combined blog, I've got nothing new to report about development at Ponte Vista.

I continue to thank and wish the best for the owners and management of Ponte Vista at San Pedro for their continued offering first responders probably the best urban training facility in all of California.

I did see the Torrance Police Department's Mobile Command Post set up inside the fences at Ponte Vista and training of Police Officers from that Department was being conducted.

For those who are not familiar with the fact that training goes on there, training has been conducted by a greater number of Departments and Agencies that one might imagine.

During "The Bob Bisno Years" many locals viewed Elk Grove, California Police Officers undergoing tactical training in an urban environment at Ponte Vista.

Elk Grove is a suburb of Sacramento. Police and other Agencies from all over California and even from other states, I believe, have use Ponte Vista at San Pedro as a training site.

If the owners of Ponte Vista receive any type of tax benefits from offering their property for training, I feel it is quite justifiable and necessary to help protect first responders and all residents of every community where Ponte Vista has provided benefits for training.
Two lawsuits will be adjudicated this coming Wednesday, involving Marymount College's attempts to have on-campus student housing built.

Mr. Jeffrey Lewis, an attorney, filed a lawsuit that includes language that could allow a Superior Court Judge to decide whether elements of The Marymount Plan and language contained in ballot Measure P provide to Marymount officials the right to have their "campus specific plan" supersede some municipal codes and some regulations and some guidelines established by and for the city of Rancho Palos Verdes.

Both lawsuits challenge claims by both sides of Measure P that the other side's ballot arguments are misleading and/or deceptive.

This is also an issue I hope the judge decides on Wednesday, before the cutoff time to get the ballot measure to the printers, for printing.

September 8 is the trial date for both lawsuits to be tried together and the cutoff date to get the wording to the printers in time to legally distribute all ballot arguments prior to the November 2, General and Special Elections, in Rancho Palos Verdes.

A post containing a recently published article about the two lawsuits will be posted under this post.
All schools, school systems, and school districts are back in session with the exception of LAUSD. The largest district in the communities will welcome students back on September 13 or 14.

Let's all drive more safely than we did when Summer placed so many kids away from classes.

Please remember that traffic patters along Western Avenue will change and get worse as they always do when schools are in session.

The enrollment at all schools in the area is up, including Marymount College. Their enrollment jumped about 75 students from last semester with the implementation of the College's new four-year programs.

This means more younger drivers driving more vehicles along Western Avenue unless those students opt to do the correct thing and park their vehicles at the College's Palos Verdes North off-campus student housing facility and have trained shuttle bus drivers execute the commutes.
The Tri-Art Festival is coming and I will create a post for it on this blog.

There will be other San Pedro and Rancho Palos Verdes community events I will post on this blog, from time to time.
Has anyone else noticed water coming out of a manhole in a southbound lane of Western Avenue?

It is never a good sign when water or any other liquid is viewed coming up and over the surface of a roadway.

The continuing seepage on Westmont is bothersome and since it wasn't dealt with during schools' summer vacation time, I hope repairs don't require closing a lane or more along the important route between Western and Gaffey.

An Article About Two Lawsuits

Ms. Ashley Ratcliff is a very good reporter. She handles reporting on city matters of four cities on The Hill for The Palos Verdes Peninsula News.

The following article appeared in the newspaper in Wednesday September 2, 2010.

I placed this article on this blog instead of my East R.P.V. blog to offer residents of other communities a better understanding of what is included in both lawsuits.

Two lawsuits arise surrounding Marymount initiative
Thursday, September 2, 2010 10:51 AM PDT

College, electeds, and residents at odds over ballot arguments.
By Ashley Ratcliff, Peninsula News

RPV — Just days after Marymount College President Dr. Michael Brophy sued Rancho Palos Verdes City Council members to contest language used in the ballot argument against Measure P, an RPV attorney on Monday filed a similar petition aimed at the group refuting initiative opponents’ statements.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Yaffe determined on Wednesday that both cases will be heard simultaneously on Sept. 8, in time to meet the county clerk’s printing deadline for the Nov. 2 general election ballot arguments.

RPV Planning Commissioner Jeff Lewis, who filed the second lawsuit, said he objects to the portion of the Marymount supporters’ rebuttal stating that the initiative “guarantees that Marymount College meets all city codes,” an assertion that he characterizes as “demonstrably false.”

“When the rebuttal arguments came out, I thought that I would mount a challenge because if I didn’t do it, nobody else would,” he said.

The News’ request for comment from Brophy was returned by a Marymount campaign consultant, who said the Englander Knabe & Allen firm would respond on his behalf going forward.

“This lawsuit is obviously a retaliatory act based on fictitious legal theory, and we are confident we will prevail in court,” Marymount consultant Ruben Gonzalez wrote in a statement.

Named in Lewis’ suit are former Mayor Barbara Ferraro, RPV resident De De Hicks, PVP Watch newsletter co-Editor Don Reeves and Marymount board members Dick Grotz and John Murname.

“I’m surprised but not surprised,” said Reeves, declining to comment further.

If approved by voters on Nov. 2, the initiative would create a “campus specific plan” for the 25-acre college campus. Its $50-million-plus master plan would grant on-campus housing for 250 students.

Councilman Doug Stern, a target of the college’s suit filed last Thursday, said there are several places within the 51-page initiative that reference amending RPV’s general plan, zoning ordinances and municipal code, thereby contradicting the statement that the project will comply with RPV laws.

“How can they say to the voters that all the city codes apply? They said they don’t [in their initiative],” he added.

According to Page 13 of the document, “Whenever provisions of this specific plan differ either in being more restrictive or less restrictive from provisions contained in the RPV [municipal code], or any other land development ordinance, statute, regulation or policy, this specific plan shall supersede those other provisions.”

Prior to filing the petition, Lewis said he attempted to speak directly to Brophy about the language in question — to avoid going to court — but was prevented from doing so.

“I thought long and hard about whether I should file a lawsuit. … I’m not disputing Marymount’s right to have an election. I just want all the arguments to be honest,” Lewis added.

College challenges council

Marymount attorney Paul Gough said the “No” on Measure P ballot argument, penned by three councilmen and signed with two well-known residents, contains four “false and misleading” statements, specifically in the paragraph stating that the initiative “eliminates city oversight.”

According to the petition, the initiative offers many chances for RPV officials to review and issue permits for the project. The City Council, it states, has “decision-making authority” for deviations in conditions outlined in the plan that exceed 15 percent.

Gough hopes the statements in question will be deleted or amended from the ballot argument. Brophy also seeks compensation for attorneys’ fees.

Calls to Gough for further comment were not returned.

While opponents last week expressed disappointment with the legal action, Harvey Englander, Marymount’s campaign consultant, told the News that he has heard otherwise from supporters.

“The response from the community that we have is, ‘Thank you for making sure that the opponents speak the truth,’” he said. “People are also telling us, ‘Thank you for pointing out that the opponents are running a negative campaign when they issued false and misleading statements.’”

Stern said Brophy’s lawsuit runs counter to his pledge to council weeks ago to “take the high road” with the initiative campaign.

“Oh, my,” Stern said. “A half-a-million-dollar advantage already spent to try to influence the outcome of the election and every time someone tries to communicate to the public a contrary position, Marymount is coming down with an iron hammer. … What’s wrong with democracy in Rancho Palos Verdes and who’s afraid to have an open debate?”

RPV City Clerk Carla Morreale and Dean Logan, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, were named as defendants in the college’s lawsuit. The “real parties in interest” include Mayor Steve Wolowicz and Councilmen Brian Campbell, Tom Long, Anthony Misetich and Stern.

However, Jon Cartwright, president of RPV Council of Homeowners Associations, and former Mayor Ken Dyda, who formed the counter-initiative group Save Our City III, signed the ballot argument with the councilmen — not Campbell and Long.

Englander said the discrepancy was a “technical legal issue.”

“The City Council authorized themselves to publish the argument against it. They’re the ones, according to lawyers, who have to be sued,” he said.

Stern, an experienced attorney, said he will defend himself, as well as Misetich and Wolowicz, who each signed the statement against the initiative. RPV City Attorney Carol Lynch will represent Campbell and Long.

Englander said the lawsuit was the “absolute, only way” the language of the ballot argument could have been addressed, in accordance with state law. He stressed that the suit was not against the city of RPV.

Both the RPV council and Planning Commission have approved the college’s expansion project, granting various campus improvements, such as a new library, athletic facility and field. The college removed the dormitories from its application at the commission level and never were presented to council.

The City Council and Planning Commission both have adopted resolutions opposing Measure P.

Voter pamphlets containing the ballot statements will be distributed to residents starting on Sept. 23.
For additional comments and the truth about The Marymount Plan and ballot Measure P if interested, please go to: