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Fall General Meeting Minutes

The Minutes of Del Rey Residents Association Fall General Meeting, October 22, 2014

The Theme:  Who Will Represent Del Rey ???

DRRA Fall General Meeting, Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 7:00 PM, showcased the candidates for California State legislature in the November 4, 2014: 

State Senate District 26 candidates: Ben Allen and Sandra Fluke

State Assembly District 62 candidates: Autumn Burke and Ted Grose

State Assembly District 54 candidates: Glen Ratcliff and Scott Malsin representing  candidate Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (who could not attend.)

1) The Honor Guard of Girl Scout Troop 6765 led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

2) Elizabeth Pollock, President of the Del Rey Residents Association made the introductions.

3) Mike Bonin, L.A. City Councilmember,  District 11, made the following remarks:

The Councilmember thanked Chris Nevil, DRRA Board Member, for all the work he has done with CERT [Community Emergency Response Team] and for community emergency preparedness; reported that the L. A. City Council is considering doing away with Los Angeles spring elections and instead line up with the same cycle as the state and federal elections; reported on DWP’s California Friendly Landscape Incentive Program, which will pay a homeowner $3.75 per square foot, for “exchanging” grass for drought tolerant landscaping; the Department of Transportation is conducting a survey to expand DASH services; plans are in the works for Santa Monica Big Blue Bus and the Culver City Bus systems to coordinate with L.A. Metro to provide ready access to the metro train lines.   

Mr. Bonin concluded by complimenting Elizabeth Pollock, President, for her efforts in getting Centinela Avenue considered for the Great Streets program.  While it did not make the “first cut,” it is hoped that it will soon be recognized.

4) Elizabeth Pollock introduced those Board members that were present:  Janice Santos, parliamentarian; Tobyann Mandel, recording secretary; Ghassan Malek, corresponding secretary; Monika Driesslein, treasurer; Wendy Averill, director [and camera person]; Sharon Blunk, director and membership chair; Larry McNamee, director; Mary Anderson, webmaster; Chris Nevil, newsletter editor and emergency preparedness chair; and Marlene Savage, representative from Del Rey Neighborhood Council.   

5) The candidates were introduced:  Scott Malsin representing Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, State Assembly District 54 candidate, Democrat; Glen Ratcliff, Republican, State Assembly District 54; Autumn Burke, State Assembly District 62, Democrat; Ted Grose, State Assembly District 62, Republican; Ben Allen, State Senate District 26, Democrat; and Sandra Fluke, State Senate District 26, Democrat.   [Sandra Fluke and Ben Allen arrived at 8:00 PM because of a previous event].   The candidates introduced themselves briefly:  

Scott Malsin speaking for Ridley-Thomas (D):  He feels that the aftermath of the recession is still affecting L.A. economy: his first priority is jobs; support for small business; he believes that education needs a boost to have an educated work force, including a program for business-education internships.   The only way to alleviate the great gridlocks faced by commuters is more support for public transit systems.   These themes are echoed by the other candidates.

Glen Ratcliff (R) is native to the area and is educated locally.  He has been a small business owner, providing staffing for special events.   He believes the educational system needs an overhaul and should emphasize the basics: reading, writing, mathematics, history, geography.  He feels a basic grounding in the essentials, students can go anywhere from there.   He would try to attract industries who have left Los Angeles, CA, especially the movie industry by reducing fees, permits, licenses.  He would keep Proposition 13 as is.   He feels that there should be more concern for seniors.  

Autumn Burke (D) (daughter of longtime Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke) has been involved in various business ventures, including real estate.   Her platform includes new and more jobs, affordable housing, and quality schools.  

Ted Grose (R) thinks more dialogue and thought is needed in government so that there is more accountability and concern for the long term effects of the laws that are passed.  He feels that business and environmental concerns can be  compatible.   He also wants to simplify the education system so that the funding goes to the schools and not the bureaucracy, the administration, etc.   Also, he would include a “vocational” education tract as well as preparatory college tract .  He wants to bring more business to California, but says there is a need to have well prepared artisans and craftsmen to work in these industries.

Sandra Fluke (D), an attorney, is interested in social justice, the educational system, environmental causes, and election reform.  

Ben Allen (D), an attorney and school board member Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District,  is also interested in educational reform, environmental-open space projects, and public transportation issues.

Elizabeth Pollock “threw out” the first question,  concerning  their ideas on Ballona Creek and the Ballona Wetlands.     All the candidates agreed that these Wetlands need to be protected.  There was some agreement that there was no way that it can be “restored” to its origins, but feel that much can be done to preserve them as a Wetland  providing  open breathable space, refuge to indigenous flora and fauna, and educational opportunities for the humans.   They were all opposed to the Annenberg plan to build on the Wetlands and to construct buildings and a dog and cat sanctuary in this particular parcel.  All are in favor of having the Wetlands having an educational purpose but do not think a big building is needed  to do this.

Scott Malsin said that Ridley-Thomas is a supporter of Proposition 1, $7.5 billion Water Bond, and would support preservation of Ballona Wetlands as an all over anti-pollution, water preservation project.  

Questions were posed by the audience:

Bad smells:  Resident on McConnell complained about the smell of gas [probably methane] and sewage sometimes sewage invades the neighborhood.  Answer from all of the panelists was to call Air Quality Control [310-478-6009] or South Coast Air Quality Management District [someone in the back suggested calling 311].

Broken sidewalks and street:   Repair of sidewalks in particular are local issues not statewide, but as far as they know sidewalks are the homeowners responsibility.   Possibly, homeowners could cut some sort of deal with the City.  

Proposition 13, the ever controversial property tax assessment rules passed in 1978 was a topic brought up:   Autumn Burke said that she would not support changing Proposition 13 changes for single family residences and 4 unit and smaller apartment units.  However, she thinks looking at commercial, industrial and business buildings is worth reconsidering.   Ted Grose does not believe in split rolls, but does feel that when title changes occur that re-assessment needs to be considered.  Glen Ratcliff would not change Proposition 13 at all.   He feels it protects seniors and believes that it helps the business community.  Scott Malsin said he did not have specific information on how Ridley-Thomas thought on Proposition 13 except that any amendments would be more complicated than split rolls.  

Sandra Fluke wants to keep continuing protection for the homeowner and small business, but would split corporations from the current law.   She was emphatic that corporations are not people [very opposed to Citizens United ruling of the Supreme Court].  Ben Allen would also prefer a split roll to protect the homeowner.  However, he felt that there should be re-assessments for corporate entities.

SB1818:  There has been much discontent over the ease of obtaining density bonuses to build housing for low income people.     Because of the poor planning involved, neighborhoods are being inundated with “big box housing” with not enough garage space, not enough parking with resulting  traffic problems.   Also, because these dwellings are not monitored, the low income apartments for low income people do not stay that way for long.   Scott Malsin said that while SB1818 is a state law, the applications are considered by local authority.   Panel point to Adrian Nazarian’s AB 2222 which would “tighten” up regulation.    Ted Grose  noted that  while it would keep apartments available for low income people longer, it still does not address  the parking and traffic issues.   He referred to a corner at La Tijera and 74th [near offramp of 405] where traffic is already a horror:  post office on northwest corner, gas station on northeast  corner, and another gas station on southeast corner.     The southwest  corner is slated to have a 50 unit building.  [This particular site is not in Del Rey, but it was the one cited, and the same type actions are occurring in Del Rey].

Offramp maintenance:  There were complaints that some offramps are tidy but others look horrible.  
Panel said that offramps are Caltrans responsibility and they should be called.  [ Del Rey and all of Los Angeles County are in Caltrans District 7].

Proposition 47: sentencing changes for non-violent  offenders.   Three part proposition 1) some non-violent crimes, such as shoplifting, would be misdemeanors and have shorter sentences.  2) there would be a three year window during which an inmate serving  the time for a felony for a nonviolent crime could get their sentences reduced to misdemeanor levels.   3) Money saved would be used for programs for convicts.  Also, keep the prison population down.    Scott Malsin [for Ridley-Thomas] is in favor of Proposition 47 with special attention for the mentally ill convicts.   Glen Ratcliff is against  47 because it would not be a strong enough deterrent for recidivism.  Autumn Burke feels that if some of the funds can be used for rehabilitation, it is worthwhile.  Ted Grose does not approve of it in current form.  He feels that realignment [reallocates correction   responsibilities and resources between authorities] is still not in place.  He would see if the realignment program works  to reduce the prison population without recidivism.  

Where are you?   A resident queried the panel as to state representative availability, stating that state representatives always seem to be distant.   Autumn Burke said that geographically they are because they are mostly in Sacramento.  There was some comments that if a representative is always up in Sacramento, how do they know what is going on at home?   All state representatives have area offices that constituents can contact.   State representatives need to make more effort for outreach.   Perhaps field representatives could be more obvious.  

Election Reform:   Ted Grose is not for public funding because elections are too expensive.  He does feel that some of the election campaigns do spend too much money.   There could be spending caps.
Glen Ratcliff, who is totally self-funded supports the Citizens United ruling of the Supreme Court, and is against donation ceilings.   He feels that full disclosure is not necessary. 

Candidates, Sandra Fluke, Ben Allen, Ridley-Thomas disagree with the Citizens United ruling, believe that campaigns publicly funded would be fairer.   They feel this would diminish the lobbying efforts of big contributors.   They want full disclosure of contributors or as one candidate said we want to see who is buying our representatives.  

Healthcare Propositions: 45 [person to oversee healthcare premium rates] & 46 [potpourri of points including a cap on malpractice awards, protection against physician substance abusers, and  protection on over prescribing medications]:  These issues were not popular with any of the candidates, poorly written, too much “jammed” in Proposition 46.   There was a thought that Proposition 45 would not work well with Covered California.   

Vaccinations:  Candidates feel that the proponents are not taking the “naysayers” seriously enough.   There seemed to be a consensus that vaccinations over all are a positive preventative medicine.   Sandra Fluke seemed to be a little bit doubtful because there are chemicals in vaccinations.   She thinks the pharmaceutical companies need to be more prudent in how the vaccinations are “put together.”

Basically, the candidates agreed on priority issues: education, healthcare, environment, public  transit, and economic  opportunity.   They didn’t necessarily agree on methodology.

The meeting was held at Westside Neighborhood School, 5400 Beethoven Street, Los Angeles, CA 90066 and adjourned at 9:00 PM.

DRRA General Meeting
October 22, 2014


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