by Mark McDermott
After a year contending with COVID-19 surges, the City Council last week was faced with reports of a potentially nettlesome but altogether different kind of surge. Of beekeeping.
At the behest of Council, city staff launched an investigation into animal-related nuisances and specifically examined existing regulations governing bees, pigs, and chickens in residential areas. At the April 20 council meeting, staff reported that there had been a “beekeeping activity surge,” as evidenced by four animal-related nuisance complaints received since 2018 — three relating to bees, and one regarding roosters.
City planning manager Talyn Mirzakhanian told the council that urban beekeeping generally is on the rise due to the planet-wide disappearance of bees.
Rescue Our Waterfront has tirelessly fought for the revitalization of King Harbor, on behalf of Redondo Beach residents. With a citywide election coming on March 2, 2021, we feel it’s vital to ensure that an in-depth discussion of this extremely important community resource takes place. All candidates for Redondo Beach Mayor and City Council seats have been invited to share their vision for the future of King Harbor. Questions will be submitted from community leaders and Redondo residents. The questions will not be shared with any of the candidates in advance.
The forum will be moderated on Jan 13 at 6 p.m. via Zoom, with a live feed on the Rescue Our Waterfront Facebook page.
Manhattan Beach an improbable focal point for protests in 2020
In November, parents and students held a rally in Polliwog Park, calling for schools to be reopened. Photo by JP Cordero
Joe Franklin leads a May 18 rally at the Manhattan Beach City Hall of protesters demanding that businesses be allowed to reopen. In November, Franklin was elected to the city council. Photo by JP Cordero
The pandemic in Manhattan Beach was met with an uneasy mixture of community cooperation and outright defiance in a year in which the city’s conflicts would mirror the nation’s.
Manhattan Beach by year’s end will have experienced four deaths and more than 750 COVID-19 cases, a lower incidence than most of Los Angeles County and much of the United States, but by global metrics a higher incidence rate than India, Russia, and Peru. Yet the city found itself in the regional and sometimes national spotlight as the pandemic progressed, first when a surfer was fined for defying a public health order not to surf, then when Mayor Pro Tem Suzanne Hadley downplayed the pandemic on MSNBC, and finally when the City of Manhattan Beach helped its restaurants evade county and state health orders by taking over outdoor dining decks. Manhattan Beach also found itself in the spotlight for the other crisis roiling America, the Black Lives Matter protests. BLM activists staged a protest at the Manhattan Beach pier and the city’s own tortured racial history at Bruce’s Beach came under renewed scrutiny.
Outdoor dining decks along Highland Avenue, now controlled by the city, attracted bustling business last Friday. Photo
The City of Manhattan Beach’s attempt to help local restaurants by repurposing outdoor dining decks into city-controlled, public seating has come under direct fire from Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis.
Davis sent a letter to City Manager Bruce Moe that said the city’s repurposing of the dining decks “violates both the letter and the spirit” of the Safer At Home public health order issued by the County on December 9. Davis said the ban on outdoor dining is an essential part of the effort to limit gatherings.
Despite cool weather and a County ban on outdoor dining, downtown Manhattan’s out door dining areas were busy on Sunday.
Diners with to-go orders fill tables in Metlox Plaza on Sunday. The County ban on outdoor dining applied to restaurants, but not public seating areas. Photos
Manhattan Beach last Thursday answered the pleas of downtown restaurant owners and announced they would be allowed to “repurpose” their outdoor dining areas to allow public seating for diners with take-out orders. Restaurant service at the dining area tables would not be allowed.
The action came in the face of a new order by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health that shut down outdoor dining for at least three weeks as part of a broader effort to counter the surge of COVID-19 cases. That restriction was struck down by Superior Court Judge James Chalfant, who on Tuesday issued a tentative decision that said, in part, county officials at the LA Department of Public Health “acted arbitrarily” when deciding to close outdoor dining. Given the State of California’s Stay at Home order Sunday night, however, restaurants will likely still not be open for dining this week (see related story page 18).
Daring to question the Governor Gavin Newsom’s and Barbara Ferrer’s lockdowns is a red line not to be crossed for Manhattan Beach Council Members Hildy Stern and Nancy Hersman. (“The Great Hadley Debate,” Easy Reader, November 29, 2020). Stern is adamant that such thoughts are dangerous: “We have the model for the misguided strategy of herd immunity in Sweden, where this approach drastically, and fatally, failed.” But Sweden’s cumulative death total is actually lower than LA County (7,000 vs. 7800) even though both have a population of 10 million. Shouldn’t our local elected leaders be asking why nine months of restrictions haven’t produced any better results than Sweden’s, which has kept schools and restaurants open and has no mask mandate?