Final City Council Candidates Forum Tuesday Night

The Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring this free public event.

If you'd like to hear the candidates for three open City Council seats discuss what they offer and how'd they'd handle city business, attend Tuesday night's final candidates forum from 6 to 8 p.m. in the police/fire facility community room.

Six residents are vying for the three seats, which currently belong to incumbent Wayne Powell and councilmen Nick Tell and Richard Montgomery, who are legally prohibited from running for two years after serving two consecutive four-year terms.

In addition to Powell, the other men who'd like to fill one of the three open seats are former two-term city council member Mitch Ward, longtime activist Viet Ngo, retired municipal counsel Mark Burton, entertainment industry executive Mark Lipps and business owner Tony D’Errico.

This is the first MB City Council election Ward can run in since he was "termed out" in 2010 after being elected to two consecutive terms and completing that service in 2010.

The forum is sponsored by the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce.

A video of the first candidates forum can be viewed on the city website.

Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. February 26, 2013 at 12:58 AM
A vote for Mitch Ward to the Manhattan Beach City Council is a vote against term limits overwhelmingly approved by residents in 1996 to encourage strong community participation rather than maintain the significant advantage of an incumbent. As a councilmember, Ward pushed through a failed 2005 ballot measure to repeal term limits rejected by 85.6% of voters. A vote for Ward is a vote against transparent government. In his second council term, Ward voted, in an illegal closed-door session, for a $260,000 separation agreement to our city manager facing alleged sexual misconduct transgressions; and, subsequently admitted to open government violations in lieu of a court trial. A vote for Ward supports his intent to again use his council seat as a stepping-stone to run for the state legislature as evidenced by his failure to commit completing the required four-year term thereby further demonstrating his lack of character, morally and ethically. Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. Manhattan Beach Resident
Liz Spear (Editor) February 26, 2013 at 01:28 AM
Hi Ed, Thanks for sharing your opinions here. What do you think of incumbent candidate Wayne Powell, who also was on City Council when what you term "an illegal closed-door session, for a $260,000 separation agreement to our city manager facing alleged sexual misconduct transgressions; and, subsequently admitted to open government violations in lieu of a court trial" took place? Also, Mitch Ward did indeed run for the CA assembly member seat that Betsy Butler won, and if he'd won he would have had to cut short his term on MB City Council, but isn't that typical of how it can work for a politician? I know Amy Howorth had to leave her MB school board seat before her term expired to become an MB City Council member and that sort of thing seems to happen quite a bit in politics. Has Mitch Ward said he intends to run for another political office other than MB City Council? Curious as to what your thoughts are on these points. Thanks, Liz
Indira M. Montejo Lamas February 26, 2013 at 03:27 AM
I agree with Doctor Caprielian
Bad Journalism February 26, 2013 at 06:17 AM
I'm confused because this is posted under "news," which the article seems to be, but then the editor, Liz Spear, expresses her personal opinion as a comment. Is it her intention to sway the election? If so, please move this over to the "Editorial" section.
Gary D. McAulay February 26, 2013 at 10:10 AM
Ed has some good points. While Wayne was also on Council when the Dolan fiasco occurred, he has subsequently worked diligently on behalf of transparency, and made open and inclusive government a top priority. Compare with Mitch Ward, who said at the MBRA candidate forum that “what we don’t want to do, is lose our focus, of the business of the people, while we’re being so open and transparent talking about it.” I would argue that transparency is fundamental to achieving the business of the people. As far as using council as a stepping-stone for higher office: perhaps it actually is “typical of how it can work for a politician.” The thing is, there are a lot of things that are “typical of how it can work for a politician” that, frankly, many of us would like to see change. Mitch did not actually say he intends to run for another political office; rather, he ignored the question. While other candidates declared that they have no aspirations for other offices, Mitch buckled down to say only that he is running for four years on council. It was no denial. Regarding term limits, Ed is right. The voters want term limits. The president of the United States is limited to two four-year terms, and that is all. It’s for good reason, and if it’s good enough for the president of the U.S., it’s good enough for city council.
Gary Osterhout February 26, 2013 at 03:56 PM
Gary McA: Certainly Wayne Powell is campaigning on his early delivery of his campaign promise to move the Audience Participation portion of the City Council agenda from the end of the City Council meeting to the beginning, and that as mayor he was successful in removing the total time limit of 15 minutes for Audience Participation. What is missing from this analysis is that his action of moving audience participation to the front of the meeting early in his term resulted in that 15 minute time limit, which was then removed toward the end of his term. Powell knew that limitation was wrong at inception, yet he waited three years until his mayoral term to address it. Yet that later action merely extended the 15 minute limit to 30 minutes. Longer, but still limited. The way I read it, with this time extension also came the restriction that any individual resident is limited to speaking three minutes total on the aggregate of all "pulled" Consent Agenda items where before a resident could speak three minutes on each pulled item. And Wayne's Consent Agenda as mayor frequently violated the council's own guidelines on what should be placed on Consent (as opposed to General Business), which resulted in more pulled items each meeting deserving of public comment. On the other hand, we still don't have city website postings of individual employee salaries (like Hermosa does), or even the received compensation of each councilmember. Transparency, or window-dressing?
Liz Spear (Editor) February 26, 2013 at 04:21 PM
Hi Bad Journalism, No, I'm not trying to sway the election; I'm simply asking questions readers might be asking, so we can all have clarification or at least more thoughts and comments from others. Comments are comments; attributable to their source when a real name is used. Comments are opinion, thoughts, feedback, input. And sometimes one comment will spark another, bringing more illumination to ideas that have been put forth. Thanks for adding your comment. Liz
Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. February 26, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Liz, Wayne Powell lacks the emotional intelligence and maturity to be re-elected. I am voting for Mark Burton, Tony D, and Mark Lipps. Given the advantage of the incumbency, Powell will certainly succeed. You are right! He shares responsibility for the corruption that occurred in the illegal $260,000 separation agreement with former City Manager Dolan for alleged, and now admitted sexual misconduct, rather than being fired for moral turpitude without a penny. Two months after Dolan's departure, Powell and Tell attended a celebration for Dolan at which Tell proclaimed Dolan the "Gold Standard" of city managers. Powell's attendance is an example of his lack of emotional intelligence and immaturity. Another example is his recent release of information as to "pension reform" that has not been finalized and is under discussion by the City Council in closed sessions. His release of that information, both in my living room and publicly, is illegal and simply pandering to obtain votes. He should have been censured by the city council. Do not be surprised if Powell attempts to repeal term limits as Mitch Ward did. Both represent the absence of one of the major requirements of elected offiice, i.e. to deal with criticism in an emotionally mature manner and to accept responsibility for his/her mistakes. Thank you. Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. Manhattan Beach Resident
getting smelly February 26, 2013 at 06:57 PM
Unfortunately, Liz, these two commenters, Osterhout and Caprielian post often but usually don't have all of the facts. Too bad just a couple of people can disseminate rumors via these methods and the general public has no idea (nor do I, really) of their personal motives. It is a week before the election, will these kinds of smear tactics get worse? Does the pubic really enjoy this? I do not use my name because, surely, I would also become the target of their malicious attacks.
Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. February 26, 2013 at 07:15 PM
getting smelly, Thank you for your comment that provides an absence of any facts but does provide insight into the character and intelligence of many of those who support Wayne Powell. In addition, I appreciate your courage and rationalization of remaining anonymous. Again, another insight into many Powell supporters. Have a great day! Good job, Wayne. Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. (310) 546-2345
Gary Osterhout February 26, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Smelly: I concur with Ed's take on your reply. Sounds very typical of the "attack the person, not the argument" responses one often receives when commenting against something Wayne is for. None of what I wrote is in any way new or unknown. Certainly if I don't have "all the facts," one would expect those omissions to be easily identified (and I really do try to correctly represent the facts). If facts are unknown, it is because the City keeps them that way. And I expect most readers will be able to discern the necessary differences between fact and opinion. Further, Wayne decided to run on his record on open government and transparency, so why be surprised if someone chose to look at that record with closer scrutiny? Not that we have much of a history of doing so in Manhattan Beach, but no reason not to start now. And it is a full week before the election, when most voters begin to make up their mind. So what better time to sharpen the focus? Nor is this malicious. This isn't a student council election based on who belongs to the most clubs and activities or has the most signatures in the yearbook--this is an election about who has the fundamental intelligence, orientation, honesty, fortitude, vision and record to be the best representative of our City. Open government and transparency (and process) is very important to me. Most who know me know that. And I don't see where either Wayne (or Mitch) do this particularly well.
getting smelly February 26, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Gary Osterhout: "On the other hand, we still don't have city website postings of individual employee salaries (like Hermosa does), or even the received compensation of each councilmember." http://www.ci.manhattan-beach.ca.us/Index.aspx?page=172 Cut and paste in your browser to see all MB employees' salaries.
getting smelly February 26, 2013 at 08:39 PM
http://www.ci.manhattan-beach.ca.us/Index.aspx?page=1903 Manhattan Beach Elected official compensation schedule You can find this on the title page of the City Government information section
Gary Osterhout February 26, 2013 at 11:09 PM
Smelly: The documents you linked to are merely broad ranges by classification. I referenced “individual employee salaries.” For instance, access Manhattan Beach salaries for 2011 from the California State Controller’s Office: http://publicpay.ca.gov/Reports/Cities/City.aspx?entityid=209&fiscalyear=2011. That data shows for Manhattan Beach, for instance: Director of Community Development: $203,457 total wages ($118,368 minimum salary; $153,936 maximum salary); Regular pay $153,936; Overtime pay -0-; Lump sum pay $8,881, Other pay $40,640; Retirement: $14,743; Employee’s Retirement Cost Covered $10,775, Deferred Compensation $6,927, Health/Dental/Vision/Contribution $13,343; 2% @ 55 applicable defined benefit pension formula. Wouldn’t all that be more informationally useful than some vague ranges? Geez, even a link to this on the City’s website would be an improvement. Then the City could embellish the information by listing each employee’s vacation accrual and annual vacation cash-out. As to Council compensation, what is the harm in showing the actual cash benefit to each specific councilmember? I was wrong, however, in referencing that Hermosa published this specific info (see Hermosa Beach Patch, August 14, 2010, “City Releases Information on Municipal Compensation Policy). They must have changed policies after changing their website.
Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. February 27, 2013 at 12:56 AM
Gary, Thanks for the website, GCC, Government Compensation in California. It is an excellent source of information. Ed
Wayne Powell February 27, 2013 at 01:09 AM
It has come to my attention that Edward Caprielian and Gary Osterhout have been posting this patently false/libelous “information” in an attempt to besmirch my good character. Our residents do not deserve this kind of malcontent, disrespectful behavior. Both of you owe our residents an apology and you are asked to refrain immediately from this reprehensible conduct. And no that is not me or probably not a supporter that admonished you. It appears to be someone who feels compelled to keep this blog from becoming a smear tactic forum.
Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. February 27, 2013 at 01:12 AM
Bad decisions by Wayne Powell during the last 1-2 years included voting for alcohol on the beach for the Centennial Gala that was eventually cancelled as a result of heavy public opposition; and, the unpopular paid reserved parking and seating at the traditionally free Concerts in the Park and Holiday Fireworks. He, along with Councilmember Howorth, allowed themselves to be bullied and cajoled by Councilmembers Tell and Montgomery leading to a fiscal fiasco and a loss of a greater opportunity to truly celebrate our 100th birthday. Jan Dennis saved the day with our parade. Councilmember Lesser innovated and implemented a successful community engagement that focused both on our past successes and our vision for the future. True to form, Councilmember Powell never acknowledged his responsibilities for his poor decisions - a typical pattern that we will have to endure for another four years, unfortunately - unless we see a growth in his emotional intelligence and behaviors. Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. Manhattan Beach Resident
Gary Osterhout February 27, 2013 at 01:41 AM
Wayne: Your comment above is so reflective of the way you handle criticism. In this instance, I believe me and Ed (and Indira--Hi!) are merely being responsive to a provocative question presented by the editor. It's all about accountability. And Ed and I aren't acting in concert--I haven't spoken or exchanged e-mails with Ed since July 2012. But take this other situation, which I found to be an egregious violation of open government principles: In January 2010, then-Mayor Ward summarized the Council’s supposedly final deliberative position on Sand Dune Park that “the dune will be re-purposed, and the dune will not be used as a work-out facility.” On April 13, 2010, Ward presided over a special meeting on Sand Dune Park held at Joslyn Center to encourage resident input. There had been no articulated change in the Council’s January policy prior to that meeting. Staff presented seven alternative uses of the park, suspiciously reflecting a behind-the-scenes change in January’s official policy position. Without advance warning or precedent Ward imposed a one-minute limit on each speaker from the audience, ignoring the significance to residents of the now-apparent policy change and the new volume of issues. The overall comment period was limited to one hour, with speakers chosen randomly. After an hour, 30 residents were denied their opportunity to speak. Wayne Powell sat right by Ward on the dais and let this happen. That's all true.
Sharon Arias February 27, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Mr. Powell, Don't waste any of your time responding to Gary Osterhout's deceits. We were there at the Sand Dune meeting. Mayor Ward and the City Counsel didn't want the meeting to go way past midnight and explained the procedure where names would be drawn at random, as stated at the beginning of the meeting. Dozens of people spoke on both sides. The City Counsel's decision was a compromise that appears to be working well. Osterhout and Caprielian criticize everthing and never offer constructive sugestions. Its time for them to stop.
Gary Osterhout February 27, 2013 at 09:51 PM
"Sharon" (and whoever "we" is): I don't see anything deceitful at all. On the other hand, my point was that as egregious as the process was, there was no announcement of how it would be conducted BEFORE the meeting started. Thus, no one could prepare for the format (such as deputizing a few residents to express the points of a group). But, regardless, one can hardly introduce themselves in one minute. Yes, many people spoke with insufficient time--yet many were also disenfranchised. I'm not speaking to the ultimate decision, but if you are saying the result makes everything OK, then that is obviously and "ends justify the means" position, and we are hardly going to agree that approach equates with "open government." Yet I think Wayne would agree with you, which is why I also fundamentally disagree that Wayne (and Mitch) do not do "open government" very well. And for a meeting that got over a 10:00pm, that was a lot of time spent NOT hearing public comment. Nor does Wayne's mayoral track record reflect much interest in getting Council meetings over by midnight. As for constructive suggestions, I believe I identified at least one above in respect to City employee salaries. Although it seems obvious that "don't disenfranchise people and let everyone participate" might be also considered a "constructive suggestion." Also, "Sharon," curious you don't show up on Wayne's endorsement list given how frequently you jump to his defense (or on me). Just sayin'.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something