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Independent Congressional Candidate Bill Bloomfield on AES Power Plant, Subway Tunneling in Beverly Hills

The Independent candidate talks with Patch about himself, how he views two local issues and his position on abortion and immigration. He is running in the newly drawn 33rd Congressional District.

This is the second part of a two-part interview with candidate Bill Bloomfield, a businessman and Manhattan Beach resident, who is running against Rep. Henry A. Waxman, a Democrat. The two are squaring off for the seat to represent the newly drawn 33rd Congressional District. Waxman presently serves California's 30th Congressional District. 

The 33rd District stretches from the Palos Verdes Peninsula to the Beach Cities, through slivers of Marina del Rey and Venice, up to Santa Monica, Malibu, Calabasas and Agoura Hills. The district also extends inland to include Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills and parts of West L.A.

Bloomfield is an independent candidate, and he and Waxman were the two candidates out of eight to advance to the November ballot.

Bloomfield was interviewed on Oct. 3 and 16 and told Patch that if voters are OK with what's gone in the past 38 years of Waxman's tenure, then they should vote him back in.

But he told Patch voters shouldn't send Waxman back if they don't like what's happened, suggesting they try "something new" for the two years the elected candidate would serve before going before the voters again. He wants voters to vote for him "and see if I'm right, see if I'm good at my word."

Bloomfield said he doesn't want to make a career of Congress: "I just want to get it working," he said.

He is the chairman of Baron Real Estate, which he said is not a developer but holds property, and that he works "an hour a month at that."

He retired in early 2006 and is a "political junkie" and grandfather who sits on five nonprofit boards and three for-profit boards, one of which is Baron.

Of nuclear weaponry, he said, "The world as we know it will change if Iran gets nuclear capability. It certainly concerns me how slowly we're tightening the noose around Iran."

He has been in Rotary for 31 years and is the immediate past president of the Manhattan Beach club and was the Westwood Village club president in 1986 and 1987.

Patch: The newly drawn 33rd Congressional District encompasses several diverse communities. What do you see as some of the biggest universal concerns and issues for these communities as a whole?

Bill Bloomfield: Well, the universal concern for these communities is the same for the communities within the entire country, and that is that the future of the United States does not look good unless we get Congress to work again.

We have many, many problems in this country that are threatening our country and all the communities and all the citizens in our country starting with the fiscal cliff, the expiration of a lot of tax cuts, as well draconian spending cuts thrown on the economy all effective January first which all economists say are going to throw us immediately into a recession unless Congress is able to work together to deal with these cuts in a responsible manner and these changes in a responsible manner.

The long term, these trillion dollar budget deficits that are threatening the fiscal solvency of our country, the economic recovery that is way too weak and producing way too few jobs, the schools, our public K-12 system that is not performing nearly well enough, particularly in the inner cities, I could go on and on, all of this threatens all of the communities in the country as well as the communities in this district.

The key is to get Congress working. We need to deal with the hyper-partisanship. We need to get the two sides talking together and I think I'm very qualified to do that with my participation in this group No Labels, my successful work on election reform, both redistricting reform as well as open primaries, and my track record of taking on special interests and, unlike Congressman Waxman, special interests indiscriminately, meaning the special interests that have been funding the Democratic Party as well as the special interests that have been funding Republican Party because it's very important that we have people in [Washington,] D.C. who are immune from the power of these special interests, and not just one side. 

Patch: What is your position on the Westside subway extension. Do you support tunneling under Beverly Hills High School?

Bloomfield: Yeah, that's a great question. I toured the area with the head of the school board and also the city's engineer, walked around the high school and then walked over to Century City. But first off, we should point out that there would have been a subway 20 years ago if not for the fact that Congressman Waxman interfered and stopped it. Whether or not methane was the end-all deal, be-all risk that he claimed that it was, I don't know, but it's too bad we didn't build a subway a whole long time ago.

But having said that, looking at where they want to put the station, where instead of on Santa Monica Boulevard they want to move it over to Constellation, I think on balance that makes sense. It's better located. Santa Monica Boulevard, of course one half is a golf course, so they put it more in the center.

But here's the deal: If you're going to do that, in order to move the subway station to Constellation, you have to, as you know, tunnel under the high school and under residences within Beverly Hills, and talking to the engineer, it's clear that if you're going to do that then you need to be sensitive to the needs of the school and the homeowners and his recommendation is that it be at least 70 feet below ground.

Now, the problem is they don't want to make it 70 feet below ground because the Constellation subway stop is on a hill so if they keep it 70 feet below ground under the homes of Beverly Hills and the high school, then it'll be, and I'm making this up, 100 feet below ground in Century City, that makes that station more expensive to build and my response to that is tough.

If the benefit of having it in Century City outweighs the cost to go down as deep as you need to go, then you should have it there, and if it doesn't, then go back to the Santa Monica Boulevard station.

But it is absolutely unfair to treat Beverly Hills worse or any different than they treated any other sensitive areas, and there are plenty of areas on that subway route where it's down 100 feet and deeper for other areas, so that's the answer. They just need to go deeper so it doesn't impact the homes or the high school.

Patch: What do you think about citizens’ efforts to rezone the land under the AES power plant in Redondo Beach? 

Bloomfield: I'm going to take my lead from Congresswoman Janice Hahn on this particular matter, and she has been in contact with the California Energy Commission and she believes based on what she understands that the plant is not needed. I am in favor of the California Energy Commisson de-commissioning it.

Now as far as the specific ballot initiative, I am not going to take a position on that. I am very concerned about the legal ramifications that could follow if it passes. I am not a lawyer but I am taking this from what I understand in terms of talking to the city and Mayor Gin but my position is that the rights of the owners of that land, private property rights have to be respected. So that's my answer.

Patch: So, you would be for de-commissioning the plant then?

Yeah, yeah, based on the information I have from Janice Hahn's office. Keep in mind, Liz, I am not a congressman, I do not have access to any more information than any other private citizen. But reading what she said, and her office does have access to it, then, yes, that I would, given the fact they're saying it's not needed. If it's not needed, the city doesn't want it actually.

Patch: But you are saying that re-zoning the land is something that isn't necessarily...

Bloomfield: I am not taking a position on that. My concern is, is it going to lead to a lot of litigation because is it trampling on the rights of the owner of the land? I don't know but that's the question I would throw out there. It's the same question that Mayor Gin and concern, I believe, that many of the members on the council have. That is not to be construed as taking a position. I don't live in Redondo Beach. It's a local matter other than the question of commissioning or de-commissioning the plant.

Patch: What's your position on abortion?

Bloomfield: Oh, I'm pro choice. I am very much a social moderate/liberal. Pro choice, in favor of same-sex marriage in California.

Patch: What is your position on immigration?

Bloomfield: I want to see the borders continuing to be tightened up, the security. I don't know, frankly, Liz, what takes us so long. We've got all this military, the people are coming back, let's get our borders secure.

For me, a definition of a border secured would be one where the illegal flows coming into the United States would be down from 90 percent from its peak. And I think the peak was around '07 or '08.

And once we do that, I want to create a path for citizenship. For everyone that's into this country illegally, that the only law they broke was the fact that they're in this country illegally, is far and away in the best interests for this country to bring those people out of the underground economy and bring them part of the mainstream.

But we need to do it this time with a secure border unlike we did last time because last time when we did it, back in the '80s when they called it amnesty, all it did was it encouraged the next flow. So we need to tie those two together.

It is such a shame this issue gets tied up in partisan politics. Some of the rhetoric coming out of some people in Congress, particularly some people from my former party, makes me ill. Two of my four grandchildren are Mexican-American heritage. And I just, it turns my stomach when people talk about this.

The fact is that people that are in this country illegally have done something that you and I would do if we found ourselves in Mexico tomorrow knowing what we know now. We would spend every waking moment trying to get into the United States because we know what our country has to offer. You know, that's just being human nature. To have certain people demonize them etc. etc. is just criminal.

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Jeffery Humberfloob November 04, 2012 at 06:15 AM
He has got my vote
IAM November 04, 2012 at 04:50 PM
I am very curious why the Patch took so long to get an interview with Manhattan Beach resident Bill Bloomfield while you managed to get non-California resident Henry Waxman on September 7th? Why Californian's would elect a "representative" which does not live in their district, let alone in our state, is beyond me.
corner soul November 04, 2012 at 05:51 PM
How can he discuss the subway alignment and not even mention that Metro's studies (as well as Beverly Hills' independent analysis) both concluded that the Santa Monica stop alignment would run directly under a major earthquake fault, and that the Constellation stop would avoid much of those problems? Link: http://la.curbed.com/archives/2012/04/bev_hillsfunded_study_favors_tunneling_under_bh_high_city_still_lawyers_up_to_fight_it.php Talk about pandering to the lowest common denominator!
bev November 04, 2012 at 05:54 PM
my concern with bill is that he led an extraordinarily expensive homeowner costs - only - in a small 3.5 lbock area in which he lives - to beautify it for him - despite the known, coming recession. undergrounding overhead wires cost some homeowners MORE than the cost of their homes - they couldn't just write out a check to cover it like he: senior citizens, retirees, middle-income wage earners, young families with children with special needs - and crushing costs just to survive. it was so unkind. so selfish. most of the homeowners in his little area had fought back against the project for YEARS - precisely because it was so expensive - but bill persisted, and together with another neighbor-city councilmember (who was busy connecting two mansions for his personal comfort despite the mansionization project concerns), bill whittled down the area closer to his home, gerrymandering around a few blocks, until homeowners with the most finally out-wiggled those with less - and he won. he really didn't care that even a handful or two neighbors couldn't afford it - they could take out loans. those loans doubled the cost of the project for them. my cost, if paid upfront with one check? $61,000 + sundry thousands. if paid over twenty years: over $100,000. - and just to underground overhead wires! in a recession! in this scary world economy! but bill did it, because he could. what a shame. and so damaging to some 'unknown' neighbors just holding on... he's not the leader for us.
Marie Cunningham November 04, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Hi IAM, This is the second part of a two-part interview with Bill Bloomfield. Here is part one: http://patch.com/A-y866 Best, Marie
Mandy Gregory November 05, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Bev does not know what she is talking about. The undergrounding district did not go forward and the project was led by Rachel Schneider. Bill is always concerned about not taxing the middle class and was looking for a way to delay financial participation in under grounding for those of limited incomes. Bev no longer lives in the neighborhood and I do not know where she gets her information. There is absolutelly no under grounding taking place any where near Bill's home!!
John November 05, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Bev definitely is out of touch! The City Coucilman she is referring to voted against the under grounding. Last day character defamation is an unattractive quality!
Doug Boswell November 05, 2012 at 02:56 PM
So Bloomfield supports de-commissioning the Redondo Beach AES power plant, then blames his position on what he implies as partial information from Janice Hahn? Bill did you come up with that slippery bit of political double-talk all on your own? Supporting a "liberal" cause but giving a wink and a nodd to your Republican buddies, saying in effect, hey if I'm off-base here it's Janice Hahn's fault. Wow, you are going to make a great politician. Oh, and I love that shtick about you being an Independent. Has anyone noticed that all across the country the "newly" minted Independents are all recent Republicans? A rose by anyother name...
L. Campeggi November 05, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Mr. Boswell, de-commissioning the AES-Redondo power plant is not a "liberal" cause. The initiative co-authors are Republican and Democrat. The supporters of NoPowerPlant.com are Republicans, Democrats, Independents, from all walks of life. That being said, I agree with your assessment of Bloomfield's double-talk on the issue. I might even call it triple-talk or quadruple-talk. What I can't do is respect his answer as he takes no firm position on his own, and offers no remedy as to how he would advise going about de-commissioning the AES-Redondo power plant. Instead, he dumps that back to a "local matter" that actually affects a huge population in the South Bay. Not fully addressing the matter displays a lack of vision and a lack of leadership. Most of us never agree 100% percent with any candidate for any office, but will respect those who make their positions clear, regardless of our political party affiliations and beliefs.
sheri patterson November 05, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Every independent report by state agencies demonstrates the AES Redondo plant can retire. Although I've never voted for Hahn, I do respect her long term tenure with SCE and the expertise she brings on this particular issue. This issue is not about party, it's about whether the plant can retire with no impact (which the conservative agencies have all validated). This local issue to Redondo residents isn't about what party one is affiliated with-- it's about keeping an open mind & understanding how the powerplant industry works. Even if this facility can retire, it will not without strong opposition from the residents. Every career expert in this field has made that clear to this community. Understanding the process is key. The legality of the issue is also important. There is a public meeting for Redondo residents Thursday, Nov 8th 7PM at the Crowne Plaza, Mezzanine Room. There will be a panel of lawyers, expert in this field. As a conservative voter, I hope residents will get informed and explore the issue. There are many possiblilities for repurposing the land which will result in significant job growth and revenue to the city of Redondo Beach. It doesn't matter how one feels about the issue today, but Redondo does need well informed voters to go to the polls in March. Most residents will find the specific details on this issue quite interesting. It's not often residents have a real voice in what happens on our waterfront, so we should seize the opportunity.
Doug Boswell November 06, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Mr or Ms Campeggi, when I wrote my comment to this article, I thought for a moment that people might easily read it as me tagging the de-commissioning of the power plant as a liberal cause, after all, it's the word I used. So I went back and put quotes around the word liberal to emphasis that it was Bloomfield's view. He certainly implies such in the way he tries to hide behind a Democrat's "possibly (probably?) flawed" recommendation, and even more so as he avoids taking a position on the "cause" due to vague fears of litigation over land-use rights. Bill, if the threat of AES taking devastating legal action is so "real", then as a responsible wannabie leader, shouldn't you be taking a hard stance against de-commissioning? I mean, Bill, shouldn't someone who wants to be our representative be able to make the hard decisions? Anyway, Ms or Mr Campeggi I just wanted to clear up that bit about me calling the power plant a liberal issue. It's not. It's a public health issue, a quality of life issue and an issue that will impact the economic possibilities of our harbor area for generations. It's a South Bay and even an LA community issue of great importance, and it just breaks my heart to see all the shills trying to make political hay with it. And, please note, I've done that thing with the quotes again...
Doug Boswell November 06, 2012 at 03:21 PM
After reading this interview above don't you come away with the feeling that Bloomfield is just trying too hard to look progressive and non-Republican? Take for example that when asked about his view on abortion, he blurts out that he is in favor of same-sex marriage. The poor sot just can’t run through his laundry list of pandering issues fast enough for the interviewer to get to them. His claims to be an Independent are just so disingenuous. Just another wolf who thinks sheep’s clothing makes him a different animal. I mean, Bill, if you want to fool us, you’re going to need a much better tailor for that sheep-skin suit.
L. Campeggi November 06, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Thanks for the clarification regarding your placement of quotes around the word liberal, Mr. Boswell. I had interpreted it differently than your intent, even with the quotes; read it as you emphasizing the word liberal versus assigning it to your perception of Bloomfield's opinion. I agree with you that the de-commissioning of the AES power plant is, in fact, just as you stated in your clarification: "...a public health issue, a quality of life issue and an issue that will impact the economic possibilities of our harbor area for generations. It's a South Bay and even an LA community issue of great importance..." And yes, anyone running for office whose true intent is to represent the people should communicate clear, quantifiable, measurable and visionary positions on matters affecting the constituency. To bounce all over the place like a tip-it pole in the wind when answering questions displays a lack of credibility, an inability to provide effective leadership, and perhaps a deficiency of knowledge. It's Ms. Campeggi, by the way. You can find like-minded neighbors regarding the AES power plant on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/nopowerplant
sheri patterson November 06, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Doug, I have no issue with those that support the AES repowering project. But a few things come to mind, whenever I hear candidates chiming in on this issue without having done much homework. First, you may not like or support Janice Hahn but she does infact have more expertise on this specific issue due to her long tenure with SCE and all the work she's done to work with all the agencies to clean up the port. Then, you have both Waxman and Bloomflied saying that it's possible to retire AES Redondo, they believe that would be a good move. With regard to the legality of phasing out power generation on this site and rezoning, there are other examples within the City of Redondo where this exact thing was done. Where were the residents' cries then about the city rezoning land and phasing out industrial or some other no longer appropriate use? The main reason folks are nervous about this issue is because AES is a big bully (Billion Dollar Corporation BIG). But "if" the rezoning is legal, then the big question is should Redondo residents accept AES' new plan out of fear? Who is controlling our city? Voters or an out-of-state corporation?
sheri patterson November 06, 2012 at 06:01 PM
AES already duped Redondo voters once to escape paying the same user utility tax that NRG plant pays in El Segundo. They don't care that they LIED on all their mailers during the UU campaign-- they saved themselves a few million a year. They scared residents and won! Shame on residents for believing them I guess. And shame on residents today for believing AES' current bogus mktg that their new plant will be cleaner. The net pollution will be much, much dirtier. Residents will see for themselves the truth once AES files their application to repower & the AQMD calculates the emission figures. Of course, AES may continue delaying the filing of their application because they know it will prove the engineers that are part of Nopowerplant were RIGHT all along. There are thousands of families (roughly 7,000+) that live downwind of their emissions in just the first 1.5 mile, and they just want the truth to make a fair assessment, & also want a vote on this important issue. Party affiliation doesn't matter. As far as the legality of it, neither Bloomfield nor Waxman are attorneys. Neither of them has sat with the city attorney nor the residents' legal firm. Without specifics, neither should comment. There is a Public Education Mtg this Thursday. A panel of land use & environmental lawyers will be explaining the initiative & what it means "legally" for residents. Whether one is for or against, this is a great educational opportunity! Nov 8th, Crowne Plaza, Mezzanine Rm, 7-9PM

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