Neighborhood Council candidate positions on Paseo del Mar

The elections for the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council (CSPNC) will be held this Saturday, May 10 from 11am to 3pm at Crafted at the Port of LA, 112 E 22nd St, Warehouse 10, San Pedro. Any stakeholder (lives, works, owns property in or is a frequent visitor to) coastal San Pedro can exercise their right to vote.


Have you read the candidate statements released by the CSPNC?


In addition to these statements, we have additional statements on a local hot topic. Local resident and stakeholder Rebecca Rannells contacted candidates to ask their position on spending $30+ million in tax dollars to reopen Paseo del Mar where the White Point Landslide occurred in November 2011.


Many candidates declined to respond (Dave Behar, Cari Lynn Burich, James Dimon, Chuck Hawley, Dan Malstrom, Chris Nagle, Ted Shirley, Sonya Tsujimura, John Vidovich, and Rachel Waugh) and a handful could not be reached (Mike Cammareri, Denise Marovich-Sampson, and Matt Matich). However, the following five statements are from the candidates that took time to respond to Ms. Rannells inquiry:

UPDATE: The CSPNC did not approve term length changes to the bylaws. All candidates elected will serve a one-year term. Voting must be done in person at Crafted on Saturday (no absentee or online voting available).


Peter M. Warren
My passion is preserving the lifestyle we enjoy in Coastal San Pedro. We are lucky to live in this beautiful, unique neighborhood.

I have been on the council for 10 years. As its Port & Environment chair, I helped keep cruise ships out of the Outer Harbor and participated in the creation of the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation. The foundation has put more than $6 million (and still going) in air filter and air conditioning equipment in area elementary schools.

Consistent with my commitment to the neighborhood, I signed the petition opposing reconstructing Paseo del Mar as a through street. I have on several occasions asked the neighborhood council to request pre- and post-collapse data from the city on traffic, accidents, crime and emergency vehicle runs in the area south of 25th Street. The local council office and the majority on the neighborhood council have not supported these requests.

In the same spirit, we need fact-based public planning for improvements to Paseo del Mar and its feeder streets for work being discussed or done now. These decisions also must be done in consultation with residents. All construction decisions must be based on before-and-after data on traffic, crime statistics, accident and emergency response times, not on emotion or anecdotes. That is not case, now.

Officials tell us the new road would cost about $30 million in 2012-13 dollars. Is that the best use of public funds? Do we need a through street along Paseo, which – with less traffic — has become more pedestrian friendly, more park-like and safer for bicycling?

About 1000 cars a day used that stretch of road before the collapse. If the road is built, that translates to a $10 subsidy every year, for every car trip for the next 10 years.

I am not a one-issue candidate. I support an active Neighborhood Council Port Advisory Committee to watchdog the Port, providing local, citizen participation in Port decisions.

Most immediately, we need input on the Ports Of Call project BEFORE an agreement is signed with the developer. The new waterfront project must protect the successful businesses and workers at Port of Call.

To sustain growth and jobs in San Pedro, the Port must remain competitive while committing to clean goods movement and reduced pollution.

I support improved youth and adult recreation projects, including funding public access to the beautiful pool at the new high school and opening the Boy Scout Camp and pool at Cabrillo Beach to public use.

June Burlingame Smith
Until such time as the White Point landslide area is sufficiently stabilized and the houses next to it assured of safety, it is premature to even suggest putting the road back into the slide area. The City has completely refused to address the issue, publicly, as to exactly what caused the landslide, and until further information and scientific studies are completed so that we understand the true nature of this area, we should not be planning to put a road back through this area.

I also really question spending the amount of money that will be needed for a road unless it is absolutely necessary for public safety, and as of right now, that does not appear to be the case.

Ana R. Ortiz
After carefully reviewing the “Final Geotechnical Report of the White Point Landslide” provided by Shannon & Wilson, Inc., a geotechnical and environmental consulting firm, to the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, I believe that further geotechnical and environmental studies need to be conducted prior to appropriating City funds for restoration of Paseo del Mar.

My concerns are based on 2 facts: 1) the geological nature of the area and 2) the failure of the report to determine the exact source of excessive ground water pressure. Throughout the Palos Verdes Peninsula, including the White Point Landslide of 2011 area, geologic conditions exist that make the area conducive to slope instability. As indicated in the final report by Shannon & Wilson, aerial photographs of the area dating back to 1928 ,”indicate that local slope instability along the coastal bluffs may have been present in the area of the current day White Point Landslide.” The report states that, “bentonite clay beds were observed in the borings near the depth of the landslide failure surface” and that “nearby landslides are known to occur along the beds of bentonite clay.” The combination of weak bentonite clay and excessive ground water pressure, “acting on the failure surface had the strongest influence on the stability of the slope.” Possible sources contributing to elevation of groundwater suggested by the report were precipitation, irrigation, coastal bluff erosion and residential development. Other factors contributing to the activation of the 2011 Landslide as delineated in the report were road construction and underground utilities.

Although, de-watering measures have been put in place, I feel that determination of the primary source of ground water pressure needs to be clarified before spending taxpayer money on restoration. The five alternative long-term mitigation options provided by Shannon & Wilson were: 1) re-routing the road around a landslide buffer zone, 2) partially re-grading the landslide debris and adjacent area to restore the road to its previous alignment across the existing landslide, 3) supporting the road at its previous alignment with a soil buttress, 4) supporting the road with a retaining wall or 5) spanning the landslide with a bridge. My opinion would be to re-route the road around a landslide buffer zone since the report suggests that “road construction” may have contributed to activation of the landslide but only if the primary source of excessive groundwater pressure can be identified, controlled and/or stabilized and at a time that the City of Los Angeles has adequate funds available without increasing burden on taxpayers. I see no urgency in restoring of Paseo del Mar because it is not a major thoroughfare and there are alternative routes to reach the bluffs. Lastly, restoration of Paseo del Mar does not support the six goals of Mayor Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative: 1) increased economic activity (primarily residential) , 2) improved access and mobility (there are alternate routes), 3) enhanced neighborhood character (preservation of the natural integrity provides character), 4) greater community engagement (residential and preservation of nature has same results) , 5) improved environmental resilience (restoration could contribute to landslide in future if not properly planned) and 6) safer more secure communities (same as number 5).

Gary W. Bettis
While I cannot disagree that the spending of $30 million dollars to repair this roadway is a lot of money and there may be other alternatives, I cannot support this petition simply because it addresses ONLY the issue of spending tax dollars. There is no mention of alternative solutions, or even that alternatives should be sought out, that may be more cost effective than the full restoration of the road yet will mitigate traffic issues on the multitude of streets in the Palisades that have been SEVERLY impacted by the Paseo Del Mar closure.

I will go out on a limb and guess that the list of signers of the petition does not include many residents of Patton Avenue, Walker Avenue, Leland Street, Alma Street (also dealing with the School Bus issue) or Almeria as compared to those signers from other parts of the state and country that are not Stakeholders in our area. If what is visible on the web page is indicative of the signers of the petition many are not even from the Los Angeles metro area. The area between 25th Street and Paseo del Mar the residents of the above named streets make up a substantial portion of the 1,800 residences that this petition statement claims to represent, one of which is my family, and I would be interested to find out how many of those directly impacted signed the petition.

If the group has any interest in attacking this issue in a comprehensive way with the goal of finding a viable options/solutions that address the cost of the road repair vs. the cost of mitigation of traffic impacts of the streets mentioned above and beyond the use of “traffic studies” and un-enforced stop signs, I will jump in with both feet. As mentioned above, I do not support the petition in its current state as it does not represent the other impacts of the Paseo del Mar closure within the Palisades along with ways to correct and pay for the mitigation, the issue goes well beyond the spending of tax dollars.

I hope this statement will be looked at as objectively as it is intended.

Louis Dominguez
While I am not totally against reopening Paseo I feel that it would need to be done at a nominal cost. $30 million is too much when we need so many other infrastructure fixes in our area.

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