“Making a difference today for Huntington Beach tomorrow”
P.O. BOX 865, HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA 92648
Ponderings from the President
As the Nov. 2 Election Day approaches how will our city decide who will best represent us in city government? If our charter should be revised? Our HBT board looked especially hard at the city council candidates to fill the four council slots. Our endorsement process and endorsed candidates are profiled here.
Look also for the separate article inside that reflects on the direction we have seen from our current city council in 2009 and 2010. How will we fill the footprints of the current council and how will that affect new project approval footprints in the future?
HBT is seeking directors who reflect the organization’s goals. Four of those elected in March are no longer part of the HBT Board; Mark Porter died in July and is irreplaceable. Other volunteers saw changes in their lives and resigned. They will be missed.
The community needs those that are interested in focusing on open space/parks and desalination, and a mobile home liaison. There are many other issues on which we would like to have our voice heard in addition to these. What is a burning issue in your mind, and are you willing to work on it for the community through HBT?
We also encourage members with tech skills to assist us in communicating through our web site. We would like to see more HBT members again serving on city boards and commissions, which increases communication and education about what is happening in our community.
Writing a letter will never replace face-to-face presentation of community views at council meetings. Add your name to our list of those willing to make one-time representation at a public meeting.
The voice that speaks out with passion can be heard through HBT, is that voice your voice? Your membership is of great value as there is strength in numbers, but please contact me if you would like to participate more actively in HBT.Karen Jackle President
HBT CITY COUNCIL ENDORSEMENTS
By Ed Kerins
A comprehensive, issue-oriented questionnaire was sent to all twenty council candidates. After review by the board of directors, the board voted to select seven candidates to interview.
After many rounds of straw votes, the board voted to endorse two candidates. The board fully realizes four open seats will be filled in the Nov. 2 election and that four new resident-oriented council members are needed to change the current “development-at-any-cost” philosophy of the current city council.
We can expect Blair Farley to work for residents as he did when he was chair of the Planning Commission and worked with downtown residents to save the historic Main Street Library and Triangle Park. Blair’s priorities are a safe city, sound finances, care for infrastructure, responsible planned growth, traffic and parking and preserving existing open space.
Joe Shaw’s record as a businessman, his knowledge of city issues and experience on three city commissions gives him a depth of experience and knowledge our city council needs. Joe’s priorities are public safety, a sound infrastructure, preservation of open space and a robust business climate.
HBT Endorsement Process
Following its tradition, Huntington Beach Tomorrow sent questionnaires to all of the council candidates. Based on their questionnaire responses, the board then voted on whom to interview. The board invited nine candidates for 30-minute interviews at special meetings over three evenings in early August. The interviewed candidates were assessed on how their positions compare with the goals of Huntington Beach Tomorrow. The board then voted to endorse two candidates: Blair Farley and Joe Shaw.
By Dave Hamilton
Admittedly, Southern California has fresh water resource problems. The problems will undoubtedly continue until solutions are found and implemented. Furthermore, these problems, which are very complex and getting more so with time, are exacerbated by unconstrained growth and predictable population increase. Yet, many cities in the Southland, including Huntington Beach, continue to approve developments that increase the complexity of water supply problems.
It’s easy to see why southland city governments readily jump at proposed solutions to their current and future water supply problems, especially proposals of private enterprises such as those of Poseidon Resources, LLC in Carlsbad and Huntington Beach. In both cities Poseidon has proposed building desalination plants, each producing 50 Million gallons-per-day (Mg/d) of fresh water by removing the salts (desalinating), dissolved minerals and living matter from Pacific Ocean seawater. When viewed from 50,000 feet, desalination—turning seawater into fresh water—seems like a simple, technological solution to the complex problem of water supply. However, when viewed at ground level, the inherent inadequacies of desalination as a solution become all too evident.
All too evident to anyone except the current HB City Council majority who approved Poseidon’s plans to construct a desalination plant and related pipelines at its Sept. 7 council meeting. The Poseidon project would use the antiquated open-ocean intake and discharge pipes of the AES power plant.
This use was approved despite the State’s recent (May 2010) banning of open-ocean intakes due to severe, detrimental impacts on marine life caused by such intakes.
This use was approved despite the desalination project drawing in twice as much seawater for its operations than AES typically draws for cooling.
The HBCC approved the Poseidon project despite the National Academy of Sciences reporting that current desalination technology uses far too much energy converting seawater to drinking water to be at all sustainable and would have substantial negative impacts on global climate change.
The HBCC approved the Poseidon project despite the California Coastal Commission’s written comments that Poseidon’s claim of carbon neutrality had been previously determined erroneous and knowingly misleading.
The HBCC approved the Poseidon project despite foreknowledge that the project would be in violation of the City’s Redevelopment Plan.
The HBCC approved the Poseidon project despite foreknowledge that the Poseidon project would be in violation of the Coastal Element of the City’s General Plan.
The list of “despites” could go on and on.
Any reasonable resident of Huntington Beach ought to be asking, “What is our City Council up to?” The answer may lie in the high-density Beach-Edinger Corridor Plan EIR (previously approved by this same Council majority) naming Poseidon as the probable source of water supply needed for the development.
Our Current City Council Approved These Plans
Who do you want making the decisions over the next four years?
By Karen Jackle
Since our city is almost built out, land value is at a premium and recently approved projects will significantly increase density. Increased density will affect traffic and parking. Following is a brief review of recently approved projects and a few more that are in the works. They all contain so-called “significant and unavoidable” impacts that will create more problems and remain unresolved.
The Downtown Specific Plan (DTSP) was passed. Resident street parking downtown is a continuing issue especially at night. Since the first and second blocks of Main St. are built out, traffic flow and circulation are not addressed.
Speaking of which, how can Beach Blvd. be widened at Beach and Edinger, as is supposed to happen according to the approved plans? Those same plans also call for a high rise in the same footprint, where AAA, BJ’s and Party City are currently located.
Bella Terra will soon see a Whole Foods Market and then a Costco with 437 units to be built above it – all subject to form-based planning. Another hotel was approved opposite Bella Terra.
There is no constructive answer to how the increased traffic can be offset. The north side of Bella Terra does not include a service road as the shopping center already is in place and existing rules remain for building on the south side.
Planning had hoped to see a service road for business access so through traffic flow would be more efficient. Although a plan was offered for the south side of Edinger to address better traffic flow, it was not adopted because affected shopping center property owners opposed a change in the frontage access they pay to maintain.
Approved plans are now in place to replace the Southeast corner of Gothard and Center (Kathy May’s Restaurant is there now) and the Northeast corner of Edinger and Gothard (vacant Levitz). The Costco site will replace Montgomery Wards and Mervyns. We all agree those eyesores need to be replaced but the replacements are all high-density developments in the same vicinity of Bella Terra.
How will the people who are supposed to “shop, play and stay” cross the railroad and power line easements that divide the area between Goldenwest College and Bella Terra? The plans identified a walkway but did not address how and who would fund it. Will the walkway and a pedestrian bridge be funded by other future developments?
We will have to continue to look for answers because these important details were dismissed in the planning process.
Beach Blvd. has more changes coming in its intersections with Atlanta and with Warner.
At Atlanta, the service road will become part of shopping center at the Southeast corner. The details are not yet clear and the land remains in planning limbo.
The high rise at the Southwest corner of Beach and Warner (Charter Center) may see a mixed-use high rise replace the existing retail facing Warner. The theater would be replaced by a mixed-use multi-story building as well.
In addition, we are watching the Bolsa Chica area, as the Ridge development project that adjoins the wetlands was approved despite lack of conformance with the Coastal Element of the General Plan.
Funding for development has been difficult for over two years. All these projects, in addition to the stalled Pacific City development, will go forward when construction financing is obtained.
After you add it all up, choose carefully who will represent your best interests for the next four critical years – and the future.
HBT Supports a “Yes” Vote on Measure O
Have you noticed the decline in the condition of our streets? Surf City is morphing into Pot Hole City. It must be a boon for front-end alignment and tire sales.
Why Measure O? In 2002 HB citizens voted to amend the City Charter to devote 15% of the general fund to infrastructure maintenance and improvement. But the city decided to include debt service in the 15%. This decreased the money for infrastructure repairs and it shows.
The Charter Review Commission felt that the inclusion of debt service thwarted the voters’ intent. This is where Measure O comes in. Basically, Measure O prevents the city from including the debt service, so the full amount allocated by voters is used for repairs.
People are sick and tired of having their votes overturned when their intent was abundantly clear. Vote “Yes” on Measure O.
Updates on Downtown Issues
For updates on downtown issues, HBT recommends you visit the web sites of two of our fellow advocacy groups, HB Neighbors at www.HBNeighbors.com and the Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Association (HBDRA) at www.HBDRA.com
Downtown Specific Plan Vote Reversed
By Ed Kerins
In a stunning move, the City Council reversed its previous decision and voted to roll back density reductions approved last year in the Downtown Specific Plan (DTSP), resulting in an increase in allowed development density.
Under intense resident scrutiny last November, the City Council had approved some of the Planning Commission’s recommendations to reduce density in portions of the DTSP.
Then, at the Jan. 19 meeting, with many fewer residents in attendance, council members Keith Bohr, Don Hansen and Devin Dwyer perpetrated a frustrating twist against their constituents’ expressed wishes and their Planning Commissioners’ recommendations.
At that meeting, an appeal of the DTSP had reopened the plan to consider further density reductions. Bohr, Hansen and Dwyer prevailed in a 3-2 end-run vote (Green and Hardy, no; Carchio, abstain; Coerper, absent) that not only preserved the higher densities under consideration for reduction, but also reversed their earlier approval of the Planning Commission recommended reductions.
The result of this vote is a significant increase in density, against the recommendations of residents and local business owners.
HBTomorrow (HBT) had urged the retention of the “Village Concept” downtown. HBT told the Planning Commission and the City Council that it believes the mixed-use concept, such as Plaza Almeria, can be an asset in promoting tourism and providing a pedestrian-friendly environment. The key to success is to minimize traffic and density impact.
The Planning Commission DTSP approval in October was in line with HBT proposals. HBT proposals included limiting the number of stories for residential units and density per acre, having no additional parking lots on the ocean side of the bluffs and preserving the Main Street Library and Triangle Park. HBT believes adding a 99-seat theatre provision to the library was a political promise by the council that could never be attained. HBT concurred with other provisions that will govern development along PCH from Beach Boulevard to Goldenwest Street.
However, the City Council overruled the Planning Commission and ignored intense opposition by HBTomorrow, downtown resident groups and business owners by allowing as many as 50 dwelling units per acre where three or more lots can be put together.
We can anticipate the increased density to become an issue before the Coastal Commission and in the election campaign later this year.
Former Mayor Bohr’s
Elected Mayor Charter Amendment
By Dave Sullivan
Mayor Keith Bohr has proposed an amendment to the Huntington Beach City Charter that changes the way the mayor is elected. The mayor would be elected directly for a 4-year term.
Since the City Charter is to Huntington Beach as the Constitution is to the USA, Bohr’s proposed change to the city charter will require a vote of the people in the November 2010 elections.
Mayor Bohr argues that a mayor separately elected for a 4-year term will enhance the city’s influence in the regional and federal areas. My view, after serving twice as mayor (1996 and 2006), is that there are some slight advantages locally, but no advantage when seeking federal support.
I lobbied for the city in Washington, D.C. on three occasions. The absolute key to success with Congress is to hire a competent lobbying firm to accompany the mayor when he or she meets with our two senators and congressman. Without going into details, that’s the way the “game” must be played in D.C. if a city is to have success. Whether a mayor serves for one year or four years is immaterial.
Currently, our mayor is chosen from one of the sitting council members for a 1-year term. Basically, the protocol is based on the number of votes the council member received in the last election and the number of years he or she has been in office. The existing system allows all council members to bring their unique talents to the mayoral position for one year. Our city benefits enormously from this diversity in leadership.
The huge disadvantages of Mr. Bohr’s “elected mayor” proposal overwhelm any slight advantages. The biggest disadvantage is that the elected mayor position will bring big city politics and big money into HB as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow morning. Outside money interests will use the HB elected mayor position as a jumping off spot for politicians with aspirations for higher office. Is anyone naïve enough to think that such a politician, elected by special interest money, will be good for the people of HB?
The greatest flaw of Bohr’s proposal is that only people of one party affiliation will be elected mayor. As proof of this let me point out that for the 43 years that I have lived in HB there has been only one Democrat elected as an HB congressman, state senator or state assemblyman. That person, Dennis Mangers, lasted for only one 2-year term in the assembly.
Therefore, given the political demographics of HB, the following outstanding Democrat mayors would never had the opportunity to serve as mayor if the elected mayor proposal was in place:
Grace Winchell, Linda Moulton-Patterson, Vic Leipzig. Shirley Dettloff, Debbie Cook, Connie Boardman or Jill Hardy.
Although I am a Republican, I value the leadership and ideas that each of these mayors brought to our city. Without their contributions during their mayoral terms HB would look very different today. I don’t believe that HBT members would be happy with that Huntington Beach.
Many thanks to these generous donors who made our annual HBT fundraiser a success!
- Huntington Surf and Sport Ed Zschoche
- Lettie Anderson’s Bootcamp
- Mandic Motors
- Trader Joe’s
- BJ’S Restaurant
- Huntington Botanical Gardens
- Finest Nails & Spa
- Papa Z’s
- Javapoint Coffee
- Ed Bush
- Alan Gandall
- Karen Jackle
- Ed and Shirley Kerins
- Mark Porter
- Angela Rainsberger and Joe da Silva
- Donna and Jim Schaffer
- Pam Vallot