HB Tomorrow Newsletter
Dear HB Tomorrow Members and Neighbors,
Here are some stories from around our community the past month:
Annual Meeting and Town Hall Recap:
About 80 people packed the Talbert Room at the Central Library the evening of March 30 and directed thoughtful questions to Mayor Barbara Delgleize, HBPD Captain Russ Reinhart, and Deputy City Manager Ken Domer. Councilmembers Lyn Semeta, Patrick Brendan, and Billy O’Connell, and many city staff were also present. Thank you to all those in our city’s leadership and our communities for showing up!
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Some of the issues raised at the forum:
- Many residents are seeing rats from the Pacific City construction. Leadership suggested contacting Code Enforcement and otherwise taking reasonable pest-control precautions.
- Sober living facilities. These continue to vex leadership as there is little that cities can do in light of state law that preempts the field. Lyn Semeta pointed out there is a bill proposed in Sacramento that would create a pilot project to bring state personnel to help enforce against unlicensed facilities operating with more than six residents.
- Short term vacation rentals. These continue to cause a nuisance for some residents. The city prohibits renting for less than a 30-day term except in Sunset Beach. More bills are being suggested that could add more tools.
- Internet carrier competition. The city is buying SCE’s light posts and, after replacing with LEDs, will save millions of dollars. The additional upshot is the city might attach wifi to the tops of the lampposts.
- Lots of questions about the homeless. Billy O’Connell has a big heart for this issue and we are looking forward to his suggestions for our city.
- Beach playground funding. Some entrepreneurial community members are working hard to make this a reality.
- High-density housing. There remain strong feelings that the high-density projects at Bella Terra, the Beach-Edinger corridor, and elsewhere in the city were ill-conceived, and that we are now paying the price.
- Some residents are concerned that road repairs around Heil, Edinger, Springdale, and Edwards lag behind, while newer developments get improvements.
- Many of us continue to look for funding to open the library on Sunday.
If there are other issues you believe HB Tomorrow should raise, please let us know.
Non-Toxic Pilot Program on the Way!
We have some movement on the Non-Toxic HB front. At HB Tomorrow’s annual meeting on March 30, Mayor Barbara Delgleize announced our city is putting a pilot program in place. The city is compiling information about which organic turf-management products and methods have worked in Irvine. We will bring updates about the progress and results of the pilot program as information becomes available.
If the pilot program goes well, we will urge the Council to bring it to a vote.
Additionally, the Huntington Beach City School District Superintendent recently suspended the use of toxic pesticides pending further review.
The Council still needs to see and hear your support. Please follow Non-Toxic Huntington Beach and let us know when you can appear at a Council meeting to keep up the support for this initiative! Please contact us and firstname.lastname@example.org if you are willing to write or speak to the City Council in the coming months to show you want our parks to be non-toxic.
Roundup’s Active Ingredient to Remain on California Cancer List, Judge Says:
A superior court recently tossed Roundup-maker Monsanto’s challenge to delist its active component, glyphosate, from the Prop 65 probable-carcinogen list. Please see our website for more information about HBT’s effort to make our parks and public spaces non-toxic.
HBT Urges OCWD: “Vote No on Poseidon”:
HB Tomorrow recently sent a letter to Orange County Water District president Denis Bilodeau, urging him to oppose building the Poseidon Desalination Plant in our city given the lack of need for this expensive new source of water. A copy of the letter is available at our website.
In other desal news: BBC News reports that Graphene-based sieve can now turn seawater into drinking water. This promising technology continues to progress.
In 10 years, the hope is we will have high-efficiency graphene filters to easily take the salt out of water (CleanTechnica.com), and we will can build tiny, inexpensive fusion reactors (ExtremeTech.com), which will give us plenty of energy to take water through the natural filtration of the sand, thereby avoiding the threats to aquatic life presented by current desal options.
Proposed Bill Would Allow Cities to Impose Rent Control:
AB 1506 proposed to lower rental prices by overturning the 1995 law Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which banned residential rent control on buildings constructed after 1999.
The groups Tenants Together and Golden State Manufactured-Home-Owners League, Inc. are in favor of AB 1506 and allow cities to try approaches to make communities more affordable.
Addressing Community Decay, One Neighborhood at a Time:
One very thoughtful question at our Annual Meeting deserves more attention. A neighborhood in the path of the major 405 construction project will see the welcome removal of a footbridge that brings drugs and illicit activity across the highway into a quiet residential area. Unfortunately, CalTrans is set to replace the nuisance by the end of construction.
Is this just an OCTA/CalTrans problem? Should the concerns of this community be handed off to remote bureaucrats, even if they are more directly responsible for the specific task at hand.
We often hear from leadership, understandably, that concerns about drug-addicted and street-dwelling homeless causing nuisance and worse in their neighborhoods is too big for the city to do anything about. Well, here is a community with a discrete problem and a specific solution. It deserves better than: “That’s OCTA’s problem.”
Leadership should be falling over itself to tackle and take credit for solving drug and nuisance problems for parts of the community where it can do something about it — to put a mark in the “win” column when it otherwise has to repeatedly concede defeat.
Housing the Homeless: Some Figures:
A recent UCI study puts the price tag of OC homelessness at about $300 million. (OC Register)
A 2013 ACLU study estimated it would cost $55 million a year to house the homeless. (OC Register)
The numbers might be less daunting if we stop considering “the homeless” as less a monolithic group. Disabled veterans are not the same as able-bodied jobless youngsters; neither are the same as the mentally ill; and mothers desperate to provide for their young innocent children are in a special class and ought never escape our vigilant concern and compassion. As has been reported, some estimate that 80% of “the homeless” are not especially interested in getting off the streets. If that is true, then it would cost only about $11 million a year county-wide to house those homeless who don’t want to be.
There might be more good we can do by starting small.
Rocket Lab moves headquarters from Los Angeles to Huntington Beach:
The 150-200-employee small-satellite launch company has moved to a new 150,000-sq-ft facility in our city and plans to produce seven rockets this year, the LA Times reports. The company is already ramping up hiring.
Our meeting last month saw one fewer long-time community supporter after the passing of Clem Dominguez last month. We will miss him.
The OC Register wrote up a nice piece on our surfing commissioner:
Clem Dominguez, former Huntington Beach commissioner, was passionate about his city and surfing
Huntington Beach Concert Band sponsors its annual Summer Series!
Celebrating their 44th anniversary this year, the Huntington Beach Concert Band will once again sponsor its Summer Series of 11 free Sunday concerts, June 25th to September 3rd in Huntington Beach Central Park.
“The concerts are organized and sponsored by the Huntington Beach Concert Band as a community service,” said Tom Ridley, who has conducted the band for 40 years.
The Huntington Beach Concert Band Summer Series will take place in the natural amphitheater area in the park behind Huntington Beach Central Library, 7111 Talbert Ave. at Goldenwest Street. Concerts start at 5 p.m. All are invited to bring picnic dinners and beach chairs or blankets to enjoy the concerts.
California High Court Sends Banning Ranch Back to the Drawing Board
In a unanimous recent decision in Banning Ranch Conservancy v. City of Newport Beach, the Supreme Court today holds that an environment impact report “must identify areas that might qualify as environmentally sensitive habitat areas (ESHA) under the California Coastal Act of 1976 (Coastal Act; § 30000 et seq.), and account for those areas in its analysis of project alternatives and mitigation measures.” Because the EIR in the case before it didn’t do that and because the failure was prejudicial, the court’s unanimous opinion by Justice Carol Corrigan puts a hold on commercial and residential development of a 400-acre coastal zone tract in Orange County. The court concludes that “[i]nformation highly relevant to the Coastal Commission’s permitting function was suppressed.”
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