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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The Manhattan Beach City Council has taken action to reaffirm its focus on policymaking while ensuring it holds the city manager and staff accountable for policy implementation. Specifically, recommendations by Councilmember Tony D’Errico and Councilmember Wayne Powell, that garnered overall support by the Council, provide a needed clear differentiation between governance and management responsibilities.

Under this differentiation, the City Council’s primary responsibility is to the residents representing the ownership of Manhattan Beach as expressed through the community’s stakeholders. As a result, governance is a downward extension of ownership rather than an upward extension by the city’s administrators. In straightforward terms, the tail is no longer wagging the dog.

We, the residents, benefit because the City Council governs with an emphasis on outward vision rather than internal preoccupation; encouragement of diversity of viewpoints; strategic leadership rather than administrative detail; assurance of management accountability; and, proactivity rather than reactivity.

Further, these policy governance parameters and benefits will allow the Manhattan Beach City Council to empower the city manager and staff, thereby allowing them greater opportunities to demonstrate their competencies, creativity, and commitment toward achievement of policy-defined results.

Therefore, residents should demonstrate continued encouragement and support of these policy governance efforts to ensure city council policymaking represents the overall interests of our community, including the effective and efficient use of the resources we entrust to our elected officials.

Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. Manhattan Beach

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The construction crisis in Manhattan Beach stems from the failure of prior Manhattan Beach City Councils (MBCC) to promote the public interest rather than the interests of the real estate lobby (i.e., developers, architects, contractors, and realtors). Instead, it has resulted in development conflicting with MBCC’s mission to “preserving our small beach town character” – but rather destruction in our quality of life (See, “Increase in residential construction has neighbors shaken up,” The Beach Reporter, August 8 and “Council addresses shoring, building issues, Easy Reader, August 8).

The failure to promote the public interest generates voter apathy and lack of civic involvement resulting from a sense of impotency. An antidote is employment by the present MBCC of public engagement interventions to empower residents in the deliberation of public policymaking along with the ownership and commitment to make those policies successful.

A resident significantly impacted by a major neighborhood construction project appeared before the MBCC pleading for its intervention. Yet, the same resident rejected the responsibility of the MBCC to promote civic engagement writing to me stating:

“… [A] few weeks ago you wrote of voter apathy and seemed to blame it on City Council's behavior. I believe our local voter apathy is based on self-centered APATHY…Our residents are too interested in throwing parties in their mcmansions, earning money to pay for their mcmansions, showing off their BMW's and designer duds, taking Johnny to soccer practice, etc. Think about how many garages you pass with the Beach Reporter lying outside all week. City Council's fault?”

The resident is not alone. In a survey of elected officials, 87% viewed the public as disengaged but overall valuing yet cautious of deliberative processes. Therefore, are we in a “chicken or egg” quandary? How do we ensure the MBCC is meeting its governance responsibilities to promote our overall community’s public interest?

Perhaps the answer is inherent in approximately only 20% of those registered voting in our municipal elections meaning each member of the MBCC did “not” receive votes by over 80% of registered voters. Representative government? No way!

Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. Manhattan Beach

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The following is a Letter to the Editor appearing in the November 14, 2013 issue of the Daily Breeze submitted by Nelle Overstreet, a Manhattan Beach resident in response to the DB October 31 article, “City facilities, parking structures need millions in repairs.”

Since we do live by the ocean, it is expected that Manhattan Beach structures will deteriorate over a shorter time than those inland.  Those conditions should have been taken into consideration before they reached their current state of disrepair.

The consultants reported 23 out of 43 facilities were in very poor, poor or fair condition.  The penultimate was to read that our 8-year-old police/fire department building was in need of $1.8 million in repairs over the next 10 years due to:  “The building was not built up to code; it was not inspected properly…”  This should be unacceptable to the citizens of Manhattan Beach who depend upon our City Hall denizens to see to our city’s interests.  Who OK’d this mess?  Who allowed it to be approved along the way?  The blame should not just be put on the contractor, but also on those in City Hall responsible for this fiasco.  Someone needs to step up to the plate and accept responsibility.  Citizens are owed an explanation from past and present City Councils.

Nelle Overstreet, Manhattan Beach

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The following is a Letter to the Editor appearing in the November 14, 2013 issue of the Daily Breeze submitted by Nelle Overstreet, a Manhattan Beach resident in response to the DB October 31 article, “City facilities, parking structures need millions in repairs.”

Since we do live by the ocean, it is expected that Manhattan Beach structures will deteriorate over a shorter time than those inland.  Those conditions should have been taken into consideration before they reached their current state of disrepair.

The consultants reported 23 out of 43 facilities were in very poor, poor or fair condition.  The penultimate was to read that our 8-year-old police/fire department building was in need of $1.8 million in repairs over the next 10 years due to:  “The building was not built up to code; it was not inspected properly…”  This should be unacceptable to the citizens of Manhattan Beach who depend upon our City Hall denizens to see to our city’s interests.  Who OK’d this mess?  Who allowed it to be approved along the way?  The blame should not just be put on the contractor, but also on those in City Hall responsible for this fiasco.  Someone needs to step up to the plate and accept responsibility.  Citizens are owed an explanation from past and present City Councils.

Nelle Overstreet, Manhattan Beach

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November 15, 2013

City Council of Manhattan Beach Manhattan Beach City Hall 1400 Highland Avenue Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Greetings!

Is the departure of City Manager Carmany an absurdity of illogical actions by the Manhattan Beach City Council as epitomized in the novel, “Catch 22?” The senselessness begins by the City Council hiring Carmany as city manager in December 2010 under a contract that renews automatically yearly unless non-renewal is noticed12 months in advance; or, if the Council dismisses Carmany for cause.

During the next three years, the City Council, in closed session, conducts 13 performance reviews of City Manager Carmany but never finalizes his appraisal or establishes cause for dismissal that would result in no severance pay and benefits. In addition, the City Council contracts a consultant for $13,500 to advise it on finalizing Carmany’s appraisal but to no avail.

Last week, the City Council dismissed Carmany without cause. Under the contract, his severance includes a year’s salary of well-over $200,000 plus benefits plus payouts of accrued vacation and sick leave, and a portion of increased equity in his home financed in part by city residents.

It now appears that former City Manager Dolan, fired due to alleged and then admitted sexual misconduct, and now former City Manager Carmany, fired under pleasantry euphemisms shadowing his incompetence, are competing for who walks away with the highest severance jackpot of over $250,000 of our tax dollars.

We deserve a better explanation from Councilmembers Lesser, Howorth, and Powell (at the helm during most of Carmany’s tenure) than “the Council has decided to move in a new direction,” hopefully not further “Catch-22” absurdities.

Sincerely,

Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D.

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

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Enough about "Open Government." The Manhattan Beach City Council is clearly moving to increase steps to gag residents into submission even as it, the City Council, falters more and more into irrelevance. At least it should have the decency to post a sign outside the MB Council Chambers, "Public Not Wanted!"

Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D.

Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D.

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