Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 7 years ago

“Manhattan Beach has been nicknamed the ‘Pearl of the South Bay’ for its beauty and desirability.” (Wikipedia) Further, we deservedly have pride in our volunteer and philanthropic organizations whose generosity and contributions illustrate our characteristics as an ideal community defined by Stephen Covey (“7 Habits of Highly Effective People”): principled-centered goodness; being of one heart with a common vision and direction; and, one mind with an approach to problem solving that is synergistic, not adversarial.

However, the flawed iridescence of our “Pearl” is inadequate resident participation in our city’s governance – a flaw not sufficiently addressed by city council candidates. In the previous election, 21.41 percent of registered voters cast ballots. Perhaps only 50-100 residents actively attend city council meetings and organize to shape our city’s mission; challenge councilmembers when their policy decisions are imperfect; or, praise their gems.

The main culprit for the flaw are 15 past years of city councils directed by a former city manager and city attorney to minimize engagement of residents in public policymaking – allowing only comments at council meetings to pacify the “gadflies,” the civic activists often denigrated by councilmembers.

To magnify the iridescence of our “Pearl” requires “public engagement” by councilmembers, i.e. delegating authority to residents through education, outreach, dialogue, and empowerment in the public policymaking arenas such as strategic planning, labor relations, budgeting, community development, and in the often stated but neglected goal of “maintaining our small beach-town character.” Then our “Pearl” will attain the metaphor of it being something truly rare and admirable.

Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. Manhattan Beach

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Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 7 years ago

Re: “MB needs to better manage its meetings” (Daily Breeze, Editorial, July 11, 2013)

Dear Editor:

Strengthening the public policymaking process is the key to improved Manhattan Beach City Council meetings. Presently, the process does not meet the fundamental criteria of effective policy analysis, problem solving, and decision making including a clear understanding of the issues; construction of and criteria for selection among alternatives; and, establishing measurable outcomes to ensure accountability.

The council compounds these process failures by not demanding comprehensive staff reports and not establishing requirements to ensure they receive agendas and reports in a timely manner to allow for thoughtful comprehension. Further, this lack of timeliness generates anger and confrontation in meetings by residents caught by surprise and wanting their voices heard on critical issues.

As noted in your editorial, “An effective council is one that gathers input and deliberates efficiently and effectively.” Instead, shamefully, our second-class council meetings generate more rancor than rationality; more heat than light; and, more delays than results.

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Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 7 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

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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

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Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 7 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,

Carley Dryden, Reporter, Daily Breeze

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Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 7 years ago

Manhattan Beach woman, children held captive in home by burglar

A woman awoke in her Manhattan Beach home Thursday night to find a burglar in her bedroom, where she was sleeping with her two children, according to police.

The victim told police that a man wearing a ski mask entered her home in the 400 block of Altura Way through a rear sliding glass door. He entered the bedroom and asked her the whereabouts of her husband, money, jewelry and cell phone. He then told her to stay in the bedroom while he searched the house for valuables. She called the Manhattan Beach Police Department when she heard him exit through the front door.

No weapons were used, and no one was injured, according to police. Officers were unable to locate the suspect, who is described as 6-foot-2 with a thin build. At the time he was wearing a ski mask and knit gloves.

Anyone with information including suspicious persons or vehicles seen in the area Thursday evening should contact MBPD Det. Shawn Thompson at 310-802-5124 or Det. Sgt. Paul Ford at 310-802-5124.

Esther King Easy Reader

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Does the turbulence surrounding the proposed development of the Manhattan Village Mall symbolize a malady potentially culminating in the demise of our City Council’s stated mission “to preserve our small beach town character?”

Lapses by prior city councils – by failing to establish the necessary principles, parameters, and practices for our sustainable economic growth and land use development – are primarily responsible for this threatened outcome.

It is not an issue of “pro-growth” or “anti-growth,” but “smart growth.” Principles reflecting smart growth are if the mall modernization strengthens our distinctive unique community identity; protects our neighborhoods; recognizes the symbiosis between economic viability and quality of life; and, promotes our city’s commitment to safeguarding our environment.

Our Manhattan Beach City Council must provide the leadership to ensure incorporation of these principles into the various elements of a revitalized mall. Public hearings have produced more heat than light. (“Manhattan Village expansion project makes small progress,” ER, November 14)

Consequently, it will require extraordinary public engagement, deliberation, and consensus building by our councilmembers to generate the necessary innovative collaboration to produce win-win results rather than compromised principles ending in outcomes that are lose-lose.

Is the envisioned Manhattan Village Mall our “line in the sand” challenging our community’s integrity? If it fails, is it a point beyond which it opens up a floodgate of inappropriate business development inconsistent with the mainstream interests of our residents rather than narrow special interests? The effectiveness of the Manhattan Beach City Council’s principle-centered leadership will determine the outcome of these fateful challenges.

Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. Manhattan Beach

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I have created a petition that explains everything:

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