Meeting Time: November 02, 2021 at 6:00pm PDT
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Agenda Item

17. 21-0331 Presentation from the History Advisory Board Regarding the Proposed Language for Plaques to be Placed at Bruce's Beach Park and the County Lifeguard Administration Building (City Manager Moe). A) APPROVE LANGUAGE B) ALLOCATE FUNDING FROM THE PUBLIC ARTS TRUST FUND C) AUTHORIZE THE CITY MANAGER TO AWARD CONTRACTS NOT-TO-EXCEED $20,000 TOTAL IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE MUNICIPAL CODE PURCHASING REQUIREMENTS

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    Nina Tarnay over 2 years ago

    Thank you City Council and the HAB for the hundred of hours spent in researching, discussing and advising the public on the history of Bruce's Beach. I hope the installation of the plaques will bring continued healing and closure to a difficult part of our City's history. I support the language used on the plaques. The summaries on the plaques accurately reflect historical facts from the BB report already approved by City Council. There is no need to further delay acknowledgement of what transpired at BB. Please approve the plaques as recommended by the HAB.

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    AudreyA RittermaEstes over 2 years ago

    This Bruce Beach historical report needs professional historian to evaluate and verify before cementing it into our history forever. The city of Manhattan Beach deserves that for the present and future generation. Thank you for your consideration into this very very very difficult issue.

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    TONI STAFFORD over 2 years ago

    We ask that you vote to seek an independent and unbiased and professional group who will propose some suggestions for the plaque at Bruce's Beach. There are many facts and rumors and all being here say. The History advisory board is not an independent, professional and unbiased group who represent our citizens. We are 53 year residents and seek a factual and true message. Our thanks, Bruce and Toni Stafford.

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    Madeline Kaplan over 2 years ago

    I support the language proposed by the HAB and think it should be adopted. I think it is important to be accurate, honest, and thorough in telling the history of our City. I think the HAB did all of these things. I support their recommendations as written. Thank you.

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    Laura Kainsinger over 2 years ago

    I fully support the plaque language by the History Advisory Board. This is the result of over a year and countless hours of hard work. The language for the plaque, lifted from the history report that was voted on and accepted by the Councilmembers, needs to be approved so that we as a community can move forward. Acknowledging the true history of Bruce’s Beach does not imply we are a racist community, on the contrary, it shows the growth that has occurred in this community over the last 100 years. I once again urge the Councilmembers to accept the current language and not attempt to blur history by delaying this vote or attempting to write their own narrative.

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    Michael Jenkins over 2 years ago

    The facts are indisputable that the 1924 City government took the Bruces’ property to eliminate the use of its beach by Black families. Fair market value was paid but Manhattan Beach lacked a legitimate public purpose to take the Bruces’ property.The take was racially motivated. The history has been scrupulously documented by the History Advisory Board and adopted by the City Council. The Board has provided comprehensive and detailed responses to the fringe history deniers in this community who persist in attempting to persuade the Council to erase this incident from the annals of City history or at a minimum, to misrepresent it.
    We grow as people and a community when we accept the truth and teach our children right from wrong. Many people will read these plaques. The plaque language prepared by the Board is accurate and truthful, if painful. The Council should accept the language as is and install the plaques as a reminder that those who forget their history are bound to repeat it.

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    mike welsh over 2 years ago

    I just want to put in my thoughts on the language for the Bruce’s beach plaque. This is much too important from a legal, ethical and moral standpoint to leave to a partisan group whose conclusion has not been reviewed and verified by a credible source. If it turns out the wording of the HAB suggestion is historically accurate, the facts of what happened should be presented on the plaque without any subjective editorial comments added.…. This likely can only be determined by hiring a professional organization who deals in historical verification. The final report would need to show verifiable proof to back up their conclusions....not hearsay and rumors. I would question the motives of anyone who is not in favor of making sure the plaque accurately represents what happened at Bruce's beach. Anything short of this is a rush to judgement.... after more than 100 years we don't need to rush this... we need to make sure we get it right.

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    Jen Harbeck over 2 years ago

    I support the creation of the new plaques at Bruce’s Beach. The new language created by the Bruce’s Beach task force is historically accurate. I support allocating funding to this project so future generations in the Beach Cities can more fully understand the history of our city and our country. Thank you.

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    Brenda OLeary over 2 years ago

    CC -

    As leaders, you can help our community unite to address the hate inflicted on the Bruce family a century ago and ensure the lessons learned from our past enhance our ability to rise above hate and racism in our future.

    At your request, some of the best and brightest people in MB stepped up for our HAB. They spent hundreds of hours consulting with historians to compile a report that you have already accepted as factually correct. This language was used to write our final plaque.

    Unfortunately, Suzanne Hadley is proposing to rewrite this language. Suzanne has embarrassed our community multiple times on a GLOBAL basis. The idea that she should step in and undo the work of our residents in lieu of her own agenda is unfathomable.

    It’s time to take this next step. Please accept the plaque so we can move forward together. We are already known as the community who failed to issue an apology. Please don’t let us be remembered as the community who insisted on whitewashing the truth.

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    Justin Verbiest over 2 years ago

    I am in full support of the language of these plaques and encourage those who oppose to read up on the history of what the Bruces went through, as these signs are far more honest than what is currently down there. This language has been vetted by historians and is based on the real history of our town, and it's time to acknowledge that.

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    Gary Osterhout over 2 years ago

    I asked the committee to consider not capitalizing "White," as that usage in context reads as pejorative tp me, and is contrary to most style guides I find on the Internet (in fact, the word could be left off without disturbing the content's meaning).

    From the first hit on the Google: "At the Columbia Journalism Review, we capitalize Black, and not white, when referring to groups in racial, ethnic, or cultural terms. For many people, Black reflects a shared sense of identity and community. White carries a different set of meanings; capitalizing the word in this context risks following the lead of white supremacists."

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    Christina Shivpuri over 2 years ago

    These monuments state the facts of Manhattan Beach. The History Report has been reviewed by professionals and approved by City Council as public record. The language for these plaques was taken directly from this report. This is a moment to feel uncomfortable with the past and celebrate the efforts we are making to reveal more of our history. We should not move back in time. We should not hide or filter the history that is stated in the Bruce's Beach History Report and now on the proposed plaques. These monuments will allow current and future residents and visitors to know the Manhattan Beach of yesterday and today. I found the writing factual and referenced reputable periodicals from that time period. We are a better Manhattan Beach community for re-creating these memorials. Please adopt the language as presented today by the History Advisory Board.

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    Lana Rizika over 2 years ago

    Thank you to City Council and the HAB for tirelessly working to create language that accurately reflects the history of Bruce's Beach. The plaque language as currently presented is based on the findings of the history report. The report, already approved by City Council earlier this year, has been vetted by professional historians. There is no need to assign this project to an outside historian. The plaque language does an excellent job accurately explaining the history of Bruce's Beach. It is time to understand and accept our history and put it out on the plaques so we as a community can learn what actually happened. We needn't fear the truth; yes, a shameful act was committed a long time ago in Manhattan Beach. We must now acknowledge this truth and educate the public so that these racially-motivated acts of the past are understood, not ignored, whitewashed, or denied. Please approve the plaques as they are written so we as a community can understand our history and move on.

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    Jennifer Cochran over 2 years ago

    I want to thanks the Council and the History Advisory Committee for all their hard work and for sticking with this. I applaud you for bringing forward the HAB's work for approval. So much research has gone into this historical account and it will stand to educate our residents and visitors for generations.

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    Diana Skaar over 2 years ago

    I appreciate City Council's service to our community, especially in wanting to capture the honest history of Bruce’s Beach. I also want to thank the HAB which has volunteered countless hours to these efforts. Please accept both plaque language so that we can move forward as a community. The plaque language is factual and reflects the history report which was adopted by City Council on Jun 15, 2021. Even then Mayor Suzanne Hadley said that the report was “factual” and “well-documented.” The plaque language is based off of the History Report.
    Adopting this plaque language does NOT make Manhattan Beach look like a racist town. However, asking the HAB to “scrub” words does put you at risk for looking tone deaf and unwilling to accept our honest history. Finally, a few opposing public comments insist that the City should hire a professional historian. They seem to not realize that City Council has already made the decision to not waste City dollars on hiring a professional historian.

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    D Berger over 2 years ago

    I support the acceptance of the HAB plaque language that will up for vote. The HAB did a thorough job gathering evidence and putting together a quality and accurate accounting of the past events at Bruce’s Beach. Please vote to accept the plaque language for Bruce’s Beach.

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    Elizabeth Heatherton over 2 years ago

    I oppose the HAB proposed language for these plaques, the importance of having our City history written by a bipartisan professional history firm so that our future generations will learn the factual and accurate history of Bruce's Beach is critical to the overall well-being of Manhattan Beach and its core values: truth and fairness. Do not accept the HAB wording as it is proven biased and not factual. Thank the HAB for their time spent on this and leave the truth to the unbiased professionals.

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    Amanda Park over 2 years ago

    I am truly impressed by the HAB's thorough investigation and careful language used to tell the history of the Bruce family and other similarly situated. It is apparent they considered and followed the direction given by this City Council to make sure the history is accurately told and every detail is backed up by primary and some secondary sources. The HAB obtained input from professional historians, Manhattan Beach residents, descendants of the Bruce family, and considered the public comments submitted to the City Council. The small fringe group advocating that the HAB be disbanded and professional historians be hired is employing a last minute delay tactic to ensure this history is never told. Accepting the plaques as written will be a shining example that MB is brave enough to acknowledge its' past and tell an accurate history for its' residents and visitors. Putting up the 2 plaques will finally acknowledge the past and begin the healing process.

    Jen Dohner over 2 years ago

    I support the History Advisory Board's original version of the plaque language, which is based on the Historical Report that has already been adopted by this Council. The efforts to "scrub" (a.k.a. whitewash) it are disingenuous and do not contain credible or specific factual criticism. The advisory board has also addressed and/or debunked all opposing claims. MB needs to close this chapter and move on. This council did not hire additional historians to review the report because that was not part of the process you embarked upon. You should not hire someone to alter the plaque language which follows from it either. These are not "bipartisan" entities being recommended. Multiple thirty party historians with specific expertise in this area have already approved this body's work. I trust them. I trust the process. And I'd like to see their work come to fruition.

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    Kim BrantLucich over 2 years ago

    I urge City Council to approve the language of the Bruce’s Beach plaques being recommended by the History Advisory Board. This language represents hundreds of hours of research and consultation by the members of the HAB, and it has been vetted with credible historians. The HAB has responded to City Council and public input and has addressed all concerns. The tone is even, respectful and appropriate. It is consistent with the history report previously accepted by City Council. The events of Bruce’s Beach are part of our city's legacy, however shameful that may be. We continue to be cited nationally and internationally for acknowledging these wrongs, but “falling short of an apology.” We now have an opportunity to close this chapter by acknowledging history on these plaques. We do not need more publicity over the refusal of our City Council to replace the current Bruce's Beach monument with a more accurate account of MB history. Let the plaques tell the story. Truth matters.