Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 6 years ago

The corruption in Bell is “American as apple pie.” It is typical in low socio-economic communities in Southeast Los Angeles County and in cities as Manhattan Beach with wealthy, highly educated populations.

The commonality is lack of citizen oversight. As emphasized in a recent Daily Breeze editorial (“Bell corruption closer than we want to know”), “You’ll never know unless you pay attention to what your electeds are up to.” (March 26)

Why the lack of “attention”? In Manhattan Beach, as across the nation, elected officials, by limiting public engagement, fail to see their role as servants not masters thereby generating public apathy and disengagement.

For example, Manhattan Beach residents can only sadly claim, “We’re no worse than Los Angeles,” because, recently, in both cities, only 21 percent of registered voters turned out on Election Day. Indeed, the turnout in our seven municipal elections during 2001-2013 has been 19.1, 21.5, 29.5, 22.5, 24.03, 21.41, and 21.84 percent. Voter apathy is a clear indicator that prior Manhattan Beach City Councils have consistently discouraged public engagement thereby failing to gain the attention and commitment of our residents to care about public policymaking. The current Manhattan Beach City Council needs to acknowledge these past failures and demonstrate by action, not only words, that it will “walk the talk” to gain that attention, commitment, and caring. Further, “We the People” (U.S. Constitution) must insist that in delegating authority to our elected officials, do not give up our right to decide what is good for the people.

1 Agree Created

Get current on the posting of Council meeting minutes (and videos), stay current, and hold the City Manager fully accountable for never again allowing the unprecedented six month delinquency that recently existed (despite the hiring of an outside contractor to perform this routine duty of the City Clerk)!

2 Agrees Created

Manhattan Beach City Council - Distrust, Diminishmet, and Disengagement of the Public

Manhattan Beach residents should note and applaud Hermosa Beach’s continued “Community Dialogue,” a “public engagement” process whereby elected officials are encouraging Hermosans to influence critical decisions on priorities and revenue generation. Through outreach, consultation, and creative consensus building dynamics, Hermosa Beach is promoting empowerment of residents and consultative democracy.

In contrast, Manhattan Beach has eschewed public engagement. Its elected officials rely on formalized “public participation” characterized by one-way communication patronizing residents into impotency rather than public deliberation and sustained problem solving.

Cities and counties throughout California are recognizing the benefits of public engagement including better identification of the public’s values, ideas, and recommendations; more fully informed citizens; improved decision-making and implementation; greater ability to overcome obstacles; and, heightened policy unanimity and support.

For Hermosans, the process is benefiting the building of their unique community identity rather than wanting “to be like Manhattan Beach” or “become Rodeo Drive at the beach.”

Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D.

1 Agree Created

Many new homes block views, create sight lines into personal spaces within adjacent residences, or block sunlight into yards. Existing structures should be considered before issuing permits. Also, with the great weather we have here in this city, I think more yard space should be encouraged. Not sure how to achieve this, but it would be nice to start a dialogue. We also need to encourage solar power, so why do we allow new homes to block sunlight for existing homes. It seems to be the norm, especially downtown. I think most of us enjoy the sunshine. That's why we're here!

1 Agree Created

Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 6 years ago

Is the Manhattan Beach City Council being fiscally responsible? The multi-millions required to upgrade Manhattan Beach facilities and infrastructure, following massive needed street lighting and sewer repairs, will culminate in increased taxes and further cast doubts on the accuracy and sufficiency of city cash reserves.

Councilmembers D’Errico and Burton are right in confronting the council on fiscal responsibility by targeting flaws in the current budget they opposed and in opposing managerial salary increases acquiesced to by Councilmembers Lesser, Howorth, and Powell. Further, D’Errico and Burton are challenging the Council to forge and adhere to its policymaking responsibilities while holding the city manager accountable for fiscal mandates – thus ending the travesty of trying to do his work as well as their own.

Rather, the Lesser-Howorth-Powell trio defends their rear-guard failures by acquiescing to the continued lack of performance and fiscal accountability by City Manager Carmany. Their failures include squashing budget reform efforts and abdicating responsibility for measurable results-oriented fiscal stability outcomes.

Illustrative of the trio’s malfeasance include not justifying recent department increased salary and benefit packages and establishing yearly performance contracts; and, not approving budget reforms that provide the Council a results scoreboard. For example, Lesser, Howorth, and Powell allocated millions to the Office of the City Manager without any required results. Not one!

An ethos of public service is accountability of taxpayer dollars entrusted to elected officials and public servants. Those who embrace this ethos should stay. Those who resist fired. Councilmembers Burton and D’Errico are aligned and steadfast to this ethos. Support them!

Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D.

1 Agree Created

Begg Pool is not adequate for MB. Swim lessons are always full, free swim is rarely available, and compared to El Segundo, Hawthorne, and other neighboring cities, our pool program is really lacking. We have the space, right at Begg Pool or at Marine Park or elsewhere. This would be a wonderful resource for all MB residents, young and old, families and singles.

Please consider this before spending a penny on a skate park which will only benefit a very small group of residents and will probably be used more by non-residents.

3 Agrees Created

Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 6 years ago

October 11, 2013

Manhattan Beach City Council:

I am extremely displeased that the second “Audience Participation” is now limited to Non-Agenda Items. At the August meeting on Meeting Management, you agreed it would allow comments on all items, especially those discussed during the meeting, thereby allowing public comment on agreement or disagreement with decisions made at the meeting. It is a further example, along with time limits on speech and grouping of agenda items, of how the past and present MBCC, under the guise of improving meeting management, has decreased open government, transparency, civic participation, and community engagement in Manhattan Beach, including blaming the public rather than your own governance incompetency. This reversal represents pure cowardice and hypocrisy by the Manhattan Beach City Council.

Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. (310) 546-2345 ed@eccphd.com

0 Comments 1 Agree Created

The corruption in Bell is “American as apple pie.” It is typical in low socio-economic communities in Southeast Los Angeles County and in cities as Manhattan Beach with wealthy, highly educated populations.

The commonality is lack of citizen oversight. As emphasized in a recent Daily Breeze editorial (“Bell corruption closer than we want to know”), “You’ll never know unless you pay attention to what your electeds are up to.” (March 26)

Why the lack of “attention”? In Manhattan Beach, as across the nation, elected officials, by limiting public engagement, fail to see their role as servants not masters thereby generating public apathy and disengagement.

For example, Manhattan Beach residents can only sadly claim, “We’re no worse than Los Angeles,” because, recently, in both cities, only 21 percent of registered voters turned out on Election Day. Indeed, the turnout in our seven municipal elections during 2001-2013 has been 19.1, 21.5, 29.5, 22.5, 24.03, 21.41, and 21.84 percent. Voter apathy is a clear indicator that prior Manhattan Beach City Councils have consistently discouraged public engagement thereby failing to gain the attention and commitment of our residents to care about public policymaking. The current Manhattan Beach City Council needs to acknowledge these past failures and demonstrate by action, not only words, that it will “walk the talk” to gain that attention, commitment, and caring. Further, “We the People” (U.S. Constitution) must insist that in delegating authority to our elected officials, do not give up our right to decide what is good for the people.

Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. Manhattan Beach Resident

0 Comments 1 Agree Created

It has been over 100 days since a Daily Breeze editorial chided the Manhattan Beach City Council on problems that still remain – late meetings; postponing of agenda items; lack of transparency; and the interminable length of remarks by councilmembers.

The source of these problems also remains, i.e. rather than dual responsibility, the failure of the Council to hold itself accountable for policymaking, while holding the city manager and staff accountable for implementation.

Instead, under the guise of meeting management, the Council recently passed measures further gagging residents and silencing criticism, including reneging on allowing public comment on policy decisions made at meetings rather than only non-agenda items; and, failure to strengthen open meeting and public information access provisions as allowable under law.

As the Daily Breeze stated, “Manhattan Beach is a first-class city. It deserves first-class meeting management,” not practices that “actually work against open government by dissuading regular citizens from attending.”

Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. Manhattan Beach Resident

0 Comments 2 Agrees Created

Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 6 years ago

Manhattan Beach >> This city needs to spend $12 million over the next 10 years to bring its aging facilities and parking structures up to par.

Consultants hired to evaluate the condition of 43 city-owned buildings and three parking structures say only 20 of the buildings are in “good” condition. The other 23 buildings are in “very poor,” “poor” or “fair” condition, requiring $10.5 million in maintenance and improvements.

“With the close proximity to the ocean and corrosive nature of the salt air, the life cycles of buildings within the city of Manhattan Beach are substantially reduced,” said consultant Dean Leonard of Faithful+Gould. “(The need for) exterior painting is a common theme with the buildings. It deteriorates really quickly in this environment.”

Leonard identified $3.3 million of “urgent” deferred maintenance at the buildings, with City Hall, the pier, Roundhouse Aquarium and police/fire building in the most need of repair.

On top of the millions identified by the consultants for facility improvements, the city is expected to spend $5.6 million on capital improvement projects in 2013-14 and $20.8 million in 2014-15. Capital improvement projects are infrastructure needs that typically exceed $10,000, said Public Works Director Tony Olmos.

The city has $21.3 million in unfunded projects, including asphalt paving, bike lanes, concrete street repairs and storm-water filtration systems, over the next five years, Olmos said.

The facility assessment consultants said City Hall will require $1.4 million over the next 10 years to repair structural damage, replace windows, repaint exterior and interior walls, renovate the restrooms, and replace the heating and ventilation and interior lighting systems, among other upgrades.

The pier and Roundhouse need $1.6 million in improvements, including repainting, restroom renovation, piping work, welding repairs, piling repairs and pier railing repainting.

Although the public safety building, which houses the Police and Fire Departments, was built in 2005, it will require $1.8 million in repairs over the next 10 years, Leonard said. The stucco finishes are already deteriorating, and the overhead doors, carpeting, water heater, rooftop exhaust fans and control systems need to be replaced.

The city’s three parking structures are in “fair” condition and require $2.1 million to be brought up to standard, according to Pawan Gupta from Walker Restoration Consultants.

Lot 2, located at Highland Avenue and 12th Street, has cracked and deteriorated concrete walls, floors and ceilings; steel reinforcement strands exposed; and vehicular barriers that do meet current code for spacing and load resistance.

“Codes have changed quite a bit since the structures were built (in the 1970s),” Gupta said. “They’ve become a lot more stringent.”

The concrete repair, waterproofing, drainage and architectural fixes require $457,000 over the next 10 years.

Lot 3, located at 12th and Morningside, needs $1.3 million over 10 years to fix spalls in the ceilings and floors, steel corrosion, deteriorating concrete and vehicle barriers that are not up to code, while Lot 4, located at Highland and Rosecrans avenues, needs $368,000 for similar repairs.

Olmos said staff will recommend that the city spend $2 million in 2014 to address the immediate “life safety” improvements to the facilities, and $417,000 in 2014 for the “life safety” repairs in the parking structures. The city would need to spend $2 million per year over the next five years to address all of the deficiencies, he said.

The results of the facility condition assessment and the city’s capital improvement plan will be presented to City Council at its Dec. 10 meeting. The CIP is scheduled to go before the City Council for adoption on Feb. 18.

The assessment report for each city building and parking structure, the CIP plan and the consultants’ presentations are available on the city’s website, www.citymb.info.

Carley Dryden, Reporter, Daily Breeze

0 Comments 1 Agree Created