What Would You Improve in Manhattan Beach in 2013?

If you could make a New Year's resolution for MB, what would it be?

More than 45 percent of Americans make a resolution every year, according to statisticbrain.com. Some people vow to live a healthier lifestyle, others promise to spend more time with family, and many say they will try to save money.

As millions of Americans make resolutions to improve their lives, what could we do right here in Manhattan Beach to make it an even better place to live?

What is on your wish list? What is one thing you would improve in 2013?

Tell us in the comments section or blog about why you love living here!

Travel January 02, 2013 at 07:04 AM
I have lived here since dirt and I love it! Of course there have been some changes since money has moved in, but, I certainly like that other than the other way around. I believe our city council has been (generally) responsive to our interests. There, of course, have been some hiccups, but nothing on the level of our other beach towns. I am so grateful that I was able to move here when "anybody" could live here, even low-level aerospace workers like myself. I believe that living in this town is a wonderful privilege and I am willing to put up with some of the nonsense for the pleasure.
Steve De Baets January 02, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Traffic has been a topic for many years. I would like to see Manhattan Beach actively work with the County and Caltrans to synchronize our signals. Throughout the City there are signals that take cars from one signal to the next or cause backups onto other streets. Some examples are; Sepulveda and 33rd St, Marine & Cedar, all of Rosecrans from Sepulveda to Aviation. Different groups talk about having healthy citizens, increasing productivity, reducing stress, reducing noise, pollution and carbon output and yet we allow thousands of cars a day to go from one signal to the next. Why? I recently call the County about the signal that was replaced at Marine and Simon-Ramo in Redondo Beach. The signal would change every 30 seconds on Marine and allow cars to exit either Northrup Grumann or the condos. Usually there were no cars exiting but the light would change anyway. Within a week it was changed but still not right. I called again and now it changes only when a car trips the underground sensor at Northrup Grumann or the condos. The County was very responsive to my comments.
Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. January 02, 2013 at 11:04 PM
Open government is the key priority and precondition for strengthening public service excellence in Manhattan Beach. Why? Open government generates heightened public engagement in public policymaking resulting in the implementation of well-informed resident recommendations for increased quality and cost-minimization of city services. The two state laws guaranteeing government transparency are the Brown Act and the California Public Records Act. These laws provide protections but also encourage jurisdictions to legislate additional practices to enhance and promote open government. Perversely, however, most elected officials seek to circumvent the laws rather than proactively empowering citizen oversight. Further, the average citizen does not possess the resources required to ensure enforcement through expensive and time-consuming legal channels. However, a growing number of cities and counties, excluding Manhattan Beach, have courageously adopted “Sunshine Ordinances” expanding protections and establishing citizen commissions to sanction misdeeds. In the March 2013 Manhattan Beach City Council elections, residents should elect candidates possessing the competencies and commitment to promote open government thereby increasing our confidence in having councilmembers heeding the admonition of President Theodore Roosevel engraved in our City Hall Plaza: "The government is us. We are the government; you and I." Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. Manhattan Beach
sarah January 03, 2013 at 03:45 PM
Manhattan Beach needs a better pool. The current public Begg pool facility is a sad little pool that needs a lot of love. Swimmers need to either pay for the astronomical MCC membership, have a pool in an expansive backyard or trek out of Manhattan Beach to Redondo Beach, El Segundo or Loyola Marymount for an Olympic sized pool with a deep end. Please consider building our city a decent public pool - we have lots of talented kids who could learn how to be great swimmers in the ocean and build a terrific swim team. The Begg Pool has a wait list that is pages long, and parents have to stay up till midnight to try and get their children on the roster. Thank you!
brian January 03, 2013 at 07:16 PM
I agree with Sarah. We should have a large municipal pool with lap lanes, kids area, a high dive and spring board and possibly a waterslide. Most major cities do including Torrance, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, etc. Why hasn't this happened already? We have the money. Look at the pool Palm Desert built for their residents: http://www.cityofpalmdesert.org/Index.aspx?page=611
Tracy Chaney January 03, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Yes, Sarah & Brian are spot on! We need a decent pool/aquatic center in our community! Have you seen the aquatics facility in La Mirada? Check it out: http://www.splashlamirada.com/ I'm sure there are many Michael Phelps and Missy Franklins in our community. The waiting list for the swim team at Begg Pool is a mile long - and yes, Begg Pool is a sad little pool that is not capable of supporting our own residents! Let's give Manhattan Beach a pool to be proud of...one that is able to accommodate our entire community with swimming lessons, aquatics teams, adult & children water classes/activities, birthday parties, celebrations and all the other great opportunities that go along with a first-class aquatic facility. I vote for a new aquatic center!
Gary Osterhout January 03, 2013 at 09:05 PM
SarahBrianTracy: I couldn't agree with you more. I've been on that soapbox for over a decade. All I wanted was a decent pool where I could get indoor beginning lessons for my 4 year old instead of driving to P.V., or at least a pool where he didn't freeze in March during middle school mandatory P.E. Suffice to say that he is now at Mira Costa, and none of that happened in spite of my continually urging either bond issues or restructured budget priorities. In the duration I've seen out of control management salaries and bennies, overspent Master Plan studies, inefficiently applied special revenue sources, and using the general fund to subsidize downtown business owners and overfunded reserves. It's interesting that Council lauds local Olympic swimmers, but such swimmers would never have achieved such greatness using our own facilities. We have the resources to get this (and many more amenities) done--we are just missing the vision and the will to get our city to that next level.
brian January 04, 2013 at 01:24 AM
They have had these plans for years (2008): http://www.ci.manhattan-beach.ca.us/Index.aspx?page=1077 Why not move ahead with these plans and issue bonds? Now is the time to do it. Bond rates have never been lower, so the cost to borrow will never be lower. Also, the cost to construct in this down market should be reasonable for a project of this scale.
Gary Osterhout January 04, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Brian: The Facilities Strategic Plan you linked to has the pool sited where Manhattan Beach Intermediate currently lies, and integrating it in with a full-scale community center with basketball courts. The obvious problem is that MBI is owned and is currently utilized by the school district, and the last time this site was reviewed (by the District's "7/11" committee, concurrent with the FSP) there was no recommendation that this building/area was considered surplus for sale or long-term lease. The FSP showed a concept of locating the pool at Marine Avenue Park, but that would require below-grade parking and I just don't see that happening. Both of the above obstacles work into my prior reference to overspent, unrealistic Master Plans. What seems more logical to me is to discuss rebuilding the pool at the current site or move it over to Manhattan Heights.
Gerry O'Connor January 05, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Yep, despite promises at the time, the Facilities Strategic Plan of not-so-long-ago has subsequently served as little more than million dollar shelf paper. Without again diving into the FSP's obvious failures of trying to do everything at once, the prioritization list identified therein still largely holds true, thereby suggesting that prudent, thorough and coordinated current processes for creating the City's Strategic Plan, Capital Improvements Plan and Operating Budget ought result in a high priority on building a new, improved pool facility. But that's just one benefit that would result from improving major City decision making processes -- and therein lies my response to the original question of what to improve in MB in 2013. Let's see some real leadership surface in improving, for starters, our Strategic Planning, Capital Improvement Projects and Budgeting processes. Alternatively, more of the same will bring us only ... more of the same. (Think: Einstein's definition of insanity.) Not bad -- but we can do sooo much better. Stop just proclaiming that public input is welcome; instead, identify and take measurable steps to make major City decision making processes more open, understandable and engaging to the residents. Discourage closed-minded and defensive concerns that any measurable change need label past practices as failures (e.g., "But we've always done it this way"!). Instead, accept and focus upon continuous improvement as the key!
Fran Shea January 07, 2013 at 04:36 PM
The parking meters/fines in this town are absurd and anti-business. The ticketing patrols are aggressive and the fines are way too high. It is one thing to encourage fair parking rules given the available spots, but the obvious cash grab looks desperate for revenue. Is this the message we want to send visitors and residents alike? Put the fine back down to a less antagonistic $25 and find another way to raise the cash. I won't shop in the downtown anymore. It's a shame. Fran Shea


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