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 Hermosa Beach News for January 2007

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In 1912, the Hermosa Beach Pleasure Pier opened to great fanfare during the city’s earliest days.

The HBNA Newsletter for January 26, 2007



Fireworks spectacular tops city’s 100th - Several thousand people oohed and aahed as fireworks lit the nighttime sky above the Hermosa Beach Pier for 25 minutes on Sunday, capping a day of speeches and ribbon cutting to mark the city’s 100th birthday.  Bundled against an unseasonable cold, Hermosans gathered on the Pier Plaza and the beach sand to watch the $30,000 spectacular, which some observers declared the best fireworks show the beach cities have seen, notwithstanding the efforts of Redondo and Manhattan.  Hermosa Mayor Sam Edgerton said it was important to top the rival city to the north, which put on a 25-minute show over the Christmas holiday.  “I timed Manhattan’s show,” Edgerton said. “Ours had to be 25 minutes. And ours was better.”  




Hit and Run Driver Strikes 4 people exiting a “party bus” near Pier Plaza at Beach Drive and 11th St. on Sat, Jan. 13


Injuries follow dispute - At least one broken bone was suffered when four passengers emerging from a “party bus” were struck by a vehicle following a verbal dispute, police said.  According to a preliminary investigation, the incident began early Saturday morning when riders in a double-decker bus heading to downtown Hermosa got in a dispute with four people in a black Jeep Cherokee.  The bus parked in the area of Beach Drive and 11th Street to unload its passengers about 12:30 a.m.  The Cherokee drove by, and it occupants “flipped off” bus passengers, police said.  The Cherokee was driven away only to return, striking four people who exited the bus, police said.  Paramedics treated the injured people at the scene, and according to preliminary police reports, at least one person suffered a broken leg.  The Cherokee later was discovered parked on Valley Drive and the investigation is continuing.  




Letters - HB doesn't need to change closing time - Although I don't live in direct proximity to the club on Pier Avenue, I have strong feelings about a trouble-plagued venue getting yet another chance.  The problems rooted in the downtown part of the city end up affecting everyone in the city by concentrating our already overworked Police Department in this area.  You leave your house at night at your own risk from speeding taxis, whose drivers don't seem to feel that stop signs and speed limits apply to them, as they try to squeeze in as many fares among clubs, liquor stores and all-night restaurants as they can.  If the midnight closing time will discourage actor-singer Steven Seagal from investing, perhaps that's just a huge bonus because, despite the quote from his representative citing his involvement would bring "classy elegance" to the city, those are two words I've never seen used in conjunction with Seagal.  Does the city of Hermosa Beach really need to attract any more celebrities and all the negative baggage they drag along? Most of us who live here think not.




New restrictions approved for Club 705 - The city Planning Commission has moved to place restrictions such as a midnight closing time upon 705, formerly Saffire, a large restaurant on upper Pier Avenue across from the city skate park. The establishment has prompted police reports of excessive noise and fights, mostly before the current owner took over.  “This puts us out of business,” a visibly upset 705 owner Tim Moore said following the commission’s decision Tuesday night. “They have just fired 27 employees. This is so wrong.”  The commission voted 5-0 to move the latest legal closing time from 2 a.m. to midnight, ban “outside promoters” for entertainment events, and require the establishment to submit a detailed security plan for its portion of the large parking structure in the rear.  


What’s Your Opinion?


New Alcohol Outlets in Hermosa Beach.  A Good Idea?


Has Crime and the Quality of Life Gotten Better or Worse Since 1998?  


Read the Opinions of Hermosa Beach Residents and Include Your Own.



 Compare the Crime Statistics since the 1997  HB Pier Plaza Renovation for:

 Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and El Segundo  



The Beach Reporter


Hermosa Beach – Crime Watch  


DEADLY WEAPON ASSAULT. Someone was allegedly struck with a hammer in the 1000 block of Hermosa Avenue after engaging in a verbal confrontation with two other individuals. The incident allegedly occurred at 1:30 a.m. Jan. 15. A group of friends were reportedly threatened with violence by two male suspects while walking back to their car late at night along Hermosa Avenue. One of the suspects began wielding a hammer and eventually struck the victim in the head during the incident.


DEADLY WEAPON ASSAULT. An individual walking along the pier plaza after leaving a nearby establishment was allegedly struck by someone wielding a skateboard. The victim's two friends observed the incident, which occurred at approximately 1:47 a.m. Jan. 13. According to the report, the attacker had just engaged in a verbal argument with the victim and his friends just a few minutes earlier.



Trial is ordered in Hermosa Beach house crash - Suspect says he was not driving when pickup plowed into a home, injuring a 5-year-old boy. Child was hospitalized for two days following the crash and had surgery to repair a broken femur.  It was the dead of night, and Kimmy Kelca was sleeping with one of her 5-year-old twin boys in her Hermosa Beach home when she heard a vehicle peel out.  Then, she said through tears during a court hearing Thursday, she heard it crash through the wall of the room where her other son, Connor, was asleep in the bottom of a bunk bed.  She leaped out of bed and ran to her son's room.  "I saw a truck in the middle of his room," she testified. "I heard him screaming."  The front of the silver pickup truck, allegedly driven by Ruben Vargas, was on top of Connor, Kelca said.  "I could see my son," Kelca said. "His head was pinned. I could see his leg was broken. I thought he was going to die."  




H.B. Council wrap - HUD grants - The council unanimously approved the city's continued participation in a program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Local officials estimated this year's allocation from the Community Development Block Grant program to be $96,937. The funds will be used to upgrade the Community Center so it will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

HB City manager - The council approved an amendment to the city manager's employment agreement through its consent calendar. Under the agreement, Steve Burrell's salary will increase by $10,000 to $190,000. The salary hike is effective through Dec. 31 and will increase to $200,000 in 2008.  




Owner says moving up closing time would hurt Seagal Club - Proposal to turn nightspot 705 into a sushi restaurant and nightclub fit for musical performances from Steven Seagal himself has hit a bureaucratic snag and local opposition.  Plans for the The Seagal Club in Hermosa Beach are under siege.  A proposal to turn popular nightspot 705 into an upscale sushi restaurant and nightclub fit for musical performances from actor-singer Steven Seagal himself has hit a bureaucratic snag and a groundswell of local opposition.  After a review of the club's permit, the city recently cut 705's usual 2 a.m. closing time to midnight, making the deal with Seagal impossible, said owner Tim Moore.  "We'll lose the sponsorship behind (Seagal)," Moore said. "It'll put 27 employees out of business."   But don't worry, Seagal fans: Moore and his lawyer plan to appeal the Planning Commission decision this week to the City Council.  "There's no way that the new business investors want to go forward with a 12 o'clock closing time," attorney Albro Lundy said.  




Pier Avenue committee hashes out options - A committee charged with helping to shape the future of Pier Avenue met last week to iron out organizational matters and procedural issues. The group, known as the “Upper Pier Avenue Committee,” was formed in October by a 4-1 vote of the City Council and charged by Councilman Kit Bobko with studying “the entire Pier Avenue ecosystem.”  Prior to its inception, local officials referred to the group as an “ad hoc” or “design oversight” committee that will steer the city's next “legacy project” - the renovation of upper Pier Avenue. Approximately $2 million in funds raised by Proposition “C,” a countywide one-half-cent sales tax, have been set aside by the city to pay for the improvements.  At last Thursday's meeting, copies of a previous design study known as “R/UDAT” were handed out to residents and members of the committee. At least one resident attending Thursday's meeting was involved with the 1992 study and offered his advice to the panel on what types of people to select as additional members.  




HB Planning Commission restricts 705 permit - Despite attracting a number of supporters to speak on their behalf, the owners of an upper Pier Avenue business could not convince the Hermosa Beach Planning Commission to see things their way. The commission adopted a resolution Tuesday night imposing severe restrictions on the business located at 705 Pier Ave. known as Club 705.  Tuesday's decision, if approved by the City Council, effectively revokes the provisions in Club 705's permit approving live entertainment and outdoor dining. It also imposes 19 new conditions confining the business to operate more like a traditional restaurant as opposed to a nightclub or bar.  Following the meeting, an attorney representing Club 705 vowed to seek redress from a higher authority, adding that his clients are being used “as a scapegoat.”  “Right now, we're going to have to appeal to the City Council,” said attorney Albro Lundy. “We believe they don't have the authority to do what they've done.”  




 Small city contract stirs up heated council debate - Though a recent decision by the City Council consisted of renewing a contract worth only $8,000, local officials debated the issue for more than an hour Tuesday night before moving forward with a vote. The decision effectively gives local School Board member Lance Widman a six-month reprieve by granting his company, the South Bay Center for Dispute Resolution Services, approval to continue acting as the city's primary mediator.  The lengthy debate exposed a vicious land-use dispute between a group of residents and the School Board that saw a flurry of letters published in local newspapers over the past two years attacking one side or the other. The dispute, which recently made its way through the state court system, revolved around the School Board's use of funds to build a new gymnasium at Hermosa Valley Elementary School. The discussion also left at least one member of the council pleading with opposing factions to stop the “blood-feud” by letting “bygones be bygones.”  




2 arrested on drug charges in Hermosa Beach raid - Redondo Beach police officers arrested two employees of a Hermosa Beach trinket shop and seized an unspecified amount of methamphetamine in a drug raid there last week, officials said.  Wayne Mire, 55, was arrested Thursday at The Scorpio Shoppe on suspicion of felony-grade possession of narcotics for sale, Redondo Beach police Sgt. Gene Tomatani said.  Another employee, Manhattan Beach resident Dana Holland, 23, was arrested on suspicion of possession of narcotics paraphernalia, a misdemeanor, Tomatani said.  About a month ago, Redondo Beach police received information about possible drug sales inside Scorpio in the 1000 block of Hermosa Avenue and began an investigation, Tomatani said.  He would not say if undercover officers attempted to purchase drugs from Scorpio, saying it was a part of the investigation.  




New ‘office-condos' planned - Plans were recently submitted to the city proposing a new four-level building in the heart of downtown Hermosa Beach. Local officials met last week as part of the city's Staff Environmental Review Committee to conduct an initial study of the project, a requirement under the California Environmental Quality Act.  The proposal calls for constructing 21 new “office-condos” in the 900 block of Hermosa Avenue. The proposed structure will take the place of a building currently occupied by Ocean View Cleaners, a dry-cleaning business. A garage that sits vacant on another lot will also be transformed to make room for the new building. According to Louie Tomaro, the founder of an architecture firm leading the design of the project, the garage once served as a mechanic's shop, but now sits vacant.




The HBNA Newsletter for January 15, 2007



Hermosa Beach celebrates its 1st 100 years - The city's yearlong festivities begin today with a series of events, including a party with live music and fireworks at Pier Plaza.  In Hermosa Beach's early days, there were no mechanical bulls, no fancy lifeguard headquarters and definitely no Sharkeez.  But it was always fun, said 84-year-old Ted Kerwin, a lifelong resident.  "You talk about wall-to-wall people now," he said. "When I was young, you couldn't get through to the beach. It was a resort in the summertime."  Since the beginning, kids were always coming to Hermosa for some sun, sand and live music, he said.  So, proving that the more things change in 100 years the more they stay the same, Hermosa Beach is doing today what it does best to celebrate its centennial anniversary party.  




HB About Town - Upper Pier peer - A city-appointed subcommittee will hold its first hearing to study possible improvements to upper Pier Avenue 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, in Room 12 of the Hermosa Beach Community Center, located at the corner of Pier Avenue and PCH. Interested members of the public are urged to attend.  The subcommittee consists of Councilmen Pete Tucker and Kit Bobko, Public Works Commissioners Dan Marinelli and Janice Brittain, and Planning Commissioners Ron Pizer and Peter Hoffman.



Hermosa Beach through the years - This is the first in a three-part look at the 100 years of Hermosa Beach.  When people think of Los Angeles, they think of sun, sand and surf. Though technically part of Los Angeles County, Hermosa Beach has gained a reputation as a unique and distinct beach town with its own personality. Later this week, an event commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the city's incorporation is slated to take place. In light of this, The Beach Reporter will take a look back at the city's history and the changes that have befallen the city and its residents. This piece is the first in an installment that will chronicle some of the more noteworthy events to take place in its 100-year history. 




Hermosa Beach - 2006: The Year in Review - Several stories reached the headlines throughout the past year in Hermosa Beach. At City Hall, a new member of the City Council was sworn in and local officials selected a new police chief. One of the city's most popular bars burned down and several of the city's former leaders died. All in all, here are some of the more interesting and urgent stories to take place within the community in 2006.  




HB Centennial - Happy birthday! - One hundred years in the making, Hermosa throws the party of the century this Sunday, marking the centennial of the city’s incorporation. Key festivities are: The formal reopening of the Hermosa Beach Historical Society Museum 2:30 p.m. on the ground floor of the Community Center, corner of Pier Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway, Mayor Sam Edgerton’s State of the City address 5 to 6:15 p.m. at the Beach House hotel, 1300 The Strand, hosted by the Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau along with Leadership Hermosa, The big birthday party 6:30 to 8:45 p.m. on the Pier Plaza with music by Dean Torrance of Jan and Dean, and the Stonebridge Band, topped off by fireworks “choreographed to music” at the pier at 8:30.  




HB Zoning change hints at new facilities - Officially speaking, there's nothing in the works for a new high-priced facility like the one that houses both of Manhattan Beach's Police and Fire Departments. Nor are there any plans to construct a new parking structure on land directly adjacent to City Hall. But though you'd never know it from talking to local officials, a proposal aired at last week's meeting of the Planning Commission appears to be laying the groundwork for the city to move in precisely that direction.  The proposal, dubbed a “special study” by Community Development Director Sol Blumenfeld, calls for the city to rezone four of its properties - the Civic Center complex, the City Yard, the Community Services building and the Community Center. With the exception of the City Yard, which is currently categorized in the “Light Manufacturing Zone,” each of these properties is designated “Open Space.”  Under current zoning requirements, “open space” properties live up to their name by including strict restrictions upon structural improvements. For example, an OS-zoned property may only have a maximum of 10 percent of its land used for parking. Any buildings are not allowed to exceed 25 feet and their footprint may only take up 10 percent of the particular OS-zoned lot. 



The Beach Reporter – January 11, 2007


Letters to the Editor - Hermosa Beach

Planning Commission meeting

Next Tuesday, Jan. 16, could be an important day in Hermosa, a turning point - maybe for the better, maybe for the worse. At the Planning Commission's 7 p.m. meeting, the following matters will be acted upon.

The commission will be considering the mass rezoning of city-owned properties, even though, as The Beach Reporter on Dec. 14 so aptly put it, “Officially speaking, there's nothing in the works...”

It will be reviewing the Conditional Use Permit compliance of Pointe 705.

It will be doing the annual review of CUP compliance for all the other restaurants downtown. The minutes from the commission's January 2006 meeting (available at ) reflect that not one citizen, not even this author, rose to speak during the last annual review.

Be there if you care.

Jim Lissner, Hermosa Beach



January 16, 2007 - 7:00 P.M.

CUP 01-1 -- Modification or Revocation of the Conditional Use Permit for on-sale alcohol, live entertainment with two stages and additional bar and added seating, outside dining and outside waiting area in conjunction with a restaurant at 705 Pier Avenue, Club 705/Saffire (continued from November 21 and December 6, 2006 meetings).  


PDP 03-11 / PARK 03-4 -- Six month review of the modified Parking Plan regarding two hour free parking validation program at 1601 Pacific Coast Highway, Hermosa Pavilion.  

C-36 -- Annual review and report on Conditional Use Permit compliance for Pier Plaza and downtown area businesses.  

TEXT 06-5 -- Status report in regard to a Special Study to initiate a General Plan Text Amendment, General Plan Map Change, and Zone Change for Civic Center, City Yard, Community Services, and the Community Center properties.  


Hearing vindicates Hermosa officer - The policeman was fired after bringing a gun into an airport. Arbiter finds he did nothing wrong in the incident.  A civil service hearing officer has determined that a fired Hermosa Beach police officer, who once said he hated the department and it hated him, should be reinstated because he did not do anything wrong.  Todd Lewitt, 40, was terminated in November 2005 after seven years with the police force on the grounds that he tried to sneak a gun through airport security, then lied about it.  Lewitt, who was engaged in a public battle with department management, denies he hid the gun at John Wayne Airport in Orange County and maintains he was fired in retaliation for his prior problems with the department.  After hearing from Transportation Security Administration and Police Department employees in May and October, Los Angeles County Civil Service Hearing Officer Richard C. Wulliger found Lewitt did not engage in any misconduct and should not be disciplined.  




Bigger, better museum to show off city’s history - Residents celebrating Sunday’s city centennial with fireworks, music and speeches will also be treated to a reopened Hermosa Beach Historical Society Museum that is triple its old size, with state-of-the-art lighting and layout to showcase exhibits that span the sandy centuries.  The 3,600 square-foot museum at the Community Center, on the corner of Pier Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway, will formally reopen 2:30 p.m. Sunday, marking five years of planning and three years of renovation work resulting in: open, airy rooms to encourage a smooth flow of pedestrian traffic, with ample space for the individual exhibits to stand apart; a museum-quality lighting system with soft, overall illumination punctuated by spotlights and floodlights to show off the individual exhibits; new wiring, walls and flooring for a clean, uncluttered look to help focus attention on the exhibits; a 250 square-foot vault for documents, photos and periodicals dating to the early 1900s, with the temperature and humidity controlled by $10,000 worth of state-of-the-art equipment.  



Hiring of fire consultant draws complaints - Local officials encountered some resistance from the city's firefighter union Tuesday night when the City Council considered a proposal to hire an outside consultant to study operations at the Fire Department.  Fire Chief Russell Tingley attended the meeting and urged the council to undertake the project, dubbed a “staffing and deployment study.” During his comments, Tingley described the proposal as a “much-needed evaluation to determine whether our staffing levels are safe.”  The company considered to conduct the study is a Palo Alto-based firm known as Matrix Consulting Group. Travis Miller, a vice president with the company, attended Tuesday night's meeting to answer questions about the proposal. 



HB council OKs plans for Pavilion development - After lots of revision and discussion, owner Gene Shook can proceed with his upscale restaurant and carwash.  After a series of recent setbacks, the owner of the Hermosa Pavilion got a reprieve Tuesday, when the Hermosa Beach City Council approved an upscale restaurant and carwash for the embattled Pacific Coast Highway development.  The panel OK'd developer Gene Shook's unusual combination with a handful of conditions after spending more than two hours hashing out the proposals' finest details and hearing from residents worried about noise and traffic.  Conditions for the scaled-back 6,704-square-foot Stillwater Contemporary American Bistro on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and 16th Street and the car detailing shop inside the Pavilion's parking garage.  




A round goes to men suing over HBPD arrest - A Jan. 29 hearing is set to consider the remainder of a criminal case against Christopher Briley and Justin Thomas, who are suing the city, claiming false arrest, excessive force and malicious prosecution in a videotaped incident on the Pier Plaza July 4, 2003.  Briley last week was acquitted on misdemeanor charges of battery on a police officer and challenging a person to fight in public. The Superior Court jury deadlocked—with the vote tallies favoring the defendants—on misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest or delaying a police officer against both men. At the Jan. 29 hearing, a judge will consider whether prosecution can continue on those charges, their attorney Thomas Beck said.  The acquittals came after jurors were shown video footage of the incident by a cameraman who was shooting local comedian Eric Coleman performing improvisational pieces with the Pier Plaza’s crowded party scene as a backdrop.  “The jurors were horrified by what was on that TV screen,” Beck said.  



The Daily Breeze – December 20, 2006

Hermosa Beach - Police Log

 Disorderly Conduct / Assault: 12:59 a.m. Dec. 15, 1300 block of Hermosa Avenue.  A police officer saw four people fighting at Pedone’s Pizza, resulting in the arrest of a 23-year-old man who faces charges for assault, disorderly conduct and vandalism to a police vehicle

Robbery: 1:15 a.m. Dec. 15, 1000 block of The Strand.  A robber took a victim’s wallet after threatening him with a knife, threw the wallet to the ground and then fled with another male suspect.  The victim reported $100 missing.

Robbery: 2:46 a.m. Dec. 15, 800 block of Bayview Drive.  Someone pressed a hard object into the victim’s back, threatening him and demanding his wallet.  The robbers fled with cash.


HB Council debates new entertainment permits - A prototype of a new law requiring businesses that provide live entertainment to obtain an “entertainment permit” was considered Tuesday night by the City Council, and the general reaction among those attending the meeting was uniformly negative.  Councilman J.R. Reviczky raised the issue at the council's Sept. 12 meeting, citing the need for the city to have a quick and efficient way to deal with uncooperative business owners. Currently, live entertainment is regulated in Hermosa Beach under the provisions of a business's conditional use permit.  But following the presentation on the new ordinance Tuesday night, which calls for promoters and relevant business owners to submit to a public hearing with the city manager before receiving a permit, Reviczky found himself defending the idea from a bevy of business owners and fellow councilmen. 


Video is key in Hermosa Beach Pier arrest trial - Both police and defendants claim tape aids their case. Man accused of resisting says he feared chokehold would kill him.  One of two men on trial for charges related to a rough arrest on the Hermosa Beach Pier testified Thursday that he feared for his and his friend's safety as police arrested them July 4, 2003.  Justin Thomas, who was 22 at the time, testified that he could neither breathe nor speak while a police officer had him in a chokehold, presumably to arrest him for interfering with officers.  "I began to panic. I felt like I was going to die," said Thomas, who told an Inglewood jury that he started "seeing stars" and that he stretched out his arms and also tapped the Hermosa Beach officer, Landon Phillips, to ask him to stop choking him.  Thomas testified that the officer continued to choke him after he went limp in surrender. The choking stopped, and then started again even though he hadn't moved, he said. He said police officer Jonathan Sibbald kicked him in the head as he lay on the ground in handcuffs.


More condo offices planned, firefighters’ staffing studied - A city committee was scheduled to get a first look at another proposed office building in town, this one on the 900 block of Hermosa Avenue where Ocean View Cleaners now stands.  The city’s Staff Environmental Review Committee this week was scheduled to review a proposal for 21 condo-style offices in a 9,500 square-foot building, with basement-level parking below.  Other projects in various stages of development include 33 condo-style offices, a snack shop and an upscale restaurant on 19,000 square feet where Classic Burger and Hermosa Beach Donuts now stand, 53 condo-offices on Pier Avenue to replace the old “200 Building," and a 16-unit development at Second Street and Pacific Coast Highway.  


FBI investigating Hermosa Beach resident's arrest - No charges were filed, but man says officers violated his rights in incident of alleged drunkenness and illegal 911 use at his home.  The FBI is looking into a Hermosa Beach resident's allegations that police officers violated his civil rights when they arrested him outside his home and charged him with public drunkenness and illegal use of the 911 system, officials said this week.  "We are aware of the allegations and are reviewing them," FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.  Though the FBI routinely reviews complaints, they do not always lead to a formal inquiry. Hermosa Beach Police Chief Greg Savelli said he had not been informed of an investigation.  The review stems from a September incident in which officers arrested Enrique Coello, 41, outside his 18th Street home.  


Report: reinstate fired HBPD officer - A former officer with the Hermosa Beach Police Department who appealed a decision to terminate him in 2005 recently received a bit of good news from a county agency reviewing his case.  Officer Richard C. Wulliger of the Los Angeles County Civil Service Commission recently issued a report indicating that Todd Lewitt should be reinstated because he was inappropriately disciplined by the Police Department in conjunction with an incident that took place at an airport on Aug. 14, 2005.  Lewitt received a letter informing him of the department's intent to terminate after he was stopped by security at John Wayne Airport in Orange County. 




FBI acknowledges review of police conduct - The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently confirmed that it is reviewing the conduct of the Hermosa Beach Police Department in conjunction with the arrest of a mortgage broker earlier this year. News of the review is yet another indication that federal agents continue to monitor the department's conduct following an initial investigation that was first reported in June 2005.  The agency's interest in the case of Enrique Coello (see “Police Action Draws Fire” Sept. 28, 2006) was first reported by the Daily Breeze on Dec. 15. Friday's report in the Breeze was the first development in the case to appear in the news since the department issued a press release in September indicating no criminal charges would be filed. The report is an unwelcome bit of news for local officials, who may have thought the incident was going to go away after department leaders declined to prosecute Coello following his arrest. 




New development to face one final approval hurdle - A sign touting the future emergence of “Playa Hermosa Plaza” currently sits in front of the old White and Day Mortuary building located along upper Pier Avenue. The project has sat idle for many months, pending approvals from various government bodies. But should the Coastal Commission bless the project at its next meeting on Jan. 10, demolition of the building might take place within the month, making downtown Hermosa Beach the home of yet another mixed-use commercial property.  The current property owner is LM Pacific Ventures, a real estate development company with offices in Manhattan Beach and El Segundo. LM Pacific Ventures, which also owns three other parcels along Pier Avenue, is planning on demolishing the current structure found at 338 and 400 Pier Ave. and replacing it with roughly 14,580 square feet of office and retail space. 




The State of the City - By Mayor Sam Y. Edgerton, III As your mayor and senior councilman, I would like to wish everyone a safe and prosperous new year. This is an historic time for our city. One hundred years ago this past Christmas Eve, Hermosa Beach held its first incorporation election and chose its first city officers. The final tally was 24 votes in favor of incorporating Hermosa Beach as a city and 23 votes against. It was the first of many close votes in our city's history and probably spawned the city's first recount. But happily, if a recount did occur, it probably took less than five minutes to complete. What we do know is that with the election certified, Hermosa Beach became a new California city. It received its charter from the state on Jan. 14, 1907.  Hence, Jan. 14, 2007, marks the 100th birthday of Hermosa Beach. As we celebrate the occasion (and as Hermosans, we will), I ask that we reflect not only upon the past year but the last 100 years.  



Jury does not convict two in Pier Plaza confrontation - Jurors declined to convict two individuals last week accused of several misdemeanor violations by the Hermosa Beach Police Department during an incident that took place more than three years ago.  The defendants, Christopher Briley and Justin Thomas, were arrested July 4, 2003, after the two became embroiled in a melee with police officers attempting to maintain order on a Pier Plaza crowded with bystanders.  Briley was also charged with battery and challenging someone to fight in public, both misdemeanors.  “Mercy, we're grateful,” said defense attorney Thomas Beck. He added that his clients extend their “eternal gratitude” for the outcome, which found Briley not guilty on all but one of the charges brought against him - interfering with police officers.  



Home invasion suspect turns herself over to police - A third suspect in the brutal Manhattan Beach home invasion robbery turned herself over to authorities almost a year after the crime that left a couple severely beaten occurred.  Tamieka Eleby, of Long Beach, walked into the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Century station on Jan. 2 in the afternoon, said Manhattan Beach Sgt. Steve Tobias.  A Manhattan Beach couple who had spent the evening at several bars in Hermosa Beach and had spent much of the night with the two female suspects whom they later took home with them, were later attacked by the two females and two male suspects, who authorities allege knew the two females, when the males arrived at the Manhattan Beach home later that night wearing masks.  




Plans for ‘Seagal (the actor) Club' in the works in H.B. - In a bizarre twist to the ongoing saga of a local nightclub known as Club 705, a Los Angeles-based entertainment company is tentatively planning to revamp the business into a new establishment that bears the name of a famous actor with a tough-guy image, Steven Seagal.  Instead of the punk rock shows and scantily clad women currently associated with Club 705's existing lineup, a new business plan calls for the creation of “The Seagal Club,” a restaurant, sports lounge and nightclub that serves as a showcase for the former martial arts action star.  Currently, Club 705 is owned and operated by Tim Moore and Arkadi Minassian. Both are principals in the firm Maximoore Inc. According to a letter submitted to the city in November, Minassian and Moore have been operating the business “under a temporary license since June 28, 2006.”  




Store clerk is stung by minor buying alcohol for the ABC -  A Hermosa Beach store clerk was cited for allegedly selling alcohol to a minor during a sting operation by state investigators.  Investigators with the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) monitored minors as they tried to buy alcohol from 13 Hermosa stores in the Nov. 27 sting. The minors were successful at only one store, said ABC officials.  “That’s pretty encouraging, but we’d like to get that down to zero,” said ABC spokesman John Carr.  The clerk accused of selling to the minor faces a possible fine of $250 and 24 to 32 hours of community service, Carr said.  



Letters - 14th Street/Hermosa Ave. Condo project lacks adequate parking - Hermosa Beach is digging an even deeper downtown-parking deficiency hole with the Planning Commission's "rubber stamp" approval of a 30-plus-feet-tall, four-level, flat-roofed, 35-unit commercial condominium project at 15th Street and Hermosa Avenue.  Among a litany of concerns is the city's day/night shared parking calculation requiring less than one net parking space on site per business or restaurant condo contained therein. Two of the 35 condos are in fact restaurants; one is 3,000 square feet, the other 1,500 square feet. Thus, 35 condo owners, two being the restaurant condo owners, will have less than one parking space each.  


Hermosan helps Hollywood’s ‘Holiday’ - Why Cameron Diaz needs Ed Kushins - When Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet wanted to swap homes in their major motion picture “The Holiday,” they called on Hermosan Ed Kushins to arrange the exchange.  Businesses usually pay moviemakers big bucks to “position” their products within major motion pictures, but not Kushins, whose company  helps people temporarily swap homes with each other for inexpensive and luxurious vacations.  Sony Pictures actually came to Kushins, seeking his permission to feature HomeExchange in the “The Holiday,” which begins a limited release this weekend. The reason: the script for the film was written with HomeExchange as a pivotal vehicle through which Diaz and Winslet meet and interact, and writer-director Nancy Meyers was well into making the movie by the time anyone realized they had not secured the rights to use the HomeExchange name. So, Sony called and offered to promote Kushins’ business for free on the big screen.




Letters to the Editor - Hidden agenda? - At the Hermosa Beach council meeting Nov. 28, Sam Edgerton talked so long against going back to four lanes on Pier Avenue that councilmen put aside the will of the people.  The restriping will be done after a car count on two lanes; then a month later, a car count on four lanes.  The people living on Loma, Eighth and Monterey have been heavily impacted by the traffic. I'm sure other streets have been impacted as well.  In my opinion, the hidden agenda for Pier Avenue is two lanes for traffic, enlarge the sidewalks for tables and chairs so bar business can be outside as well as in, extend the Tenderloin District as close to Pacific Coast Highway as possible.  The future for the people of Hermosa Beach is very bleak.  The continuation of the restriping for another couple of months is all about control and ego.  Edgerton is forcing his one vote to control the city and council, yet the four votes the other members had and used don't seem to count.  




Letters - Mochas or Mercedes?  Dear ER: The restriping of Pier Avenue to four lanes was approved on Oct. 10, 2006, at the Hermosa Beach City Council meeting. Councilmen J.R. Revicky and Sam Edgerton now appear to be employing a stalling tactic to extend the time to reinstall the four lanes with high hopes of maintaining the two lane striping configuration. Why are these two councilmen defying the overwhelming majority of the Hermosa Beach citizens? Do they have an agenda to keep the said two lanes with hopes of wider sidewalks providing more tables for enlarged cafes?  Sidewalks are for pedestrians use. Don’t they recall at the Hermosa Beach Public Works Commission meeting on Sept. 20, 2006, 25 Hermosa Beach residents spoke, 23 citizens were against the two lane configuration and only 2 were in favor of the new configuration?  


The Daily Breeze – December 6, 2006

Hermosa Beach - Police Log

Assault and Battery: 2:33 a.m. Nov. 25, 1100 block of Hermosa Avenue.  A participant in a fight was arrested on suspicion of fighting in public, public intoxication and resisting arrest for allegedly trying to attack another person involved in the incident as he was talking with police officers.  The report noted that the man had to be restrained when he resisted arrest when confronted by many police officers.

Obstruction: 2:33 a.m. Nov. 25, 1100 block of Hermosa Avenue.  A man was arrested on suspicion of resisting, obstructing or delaying a peace officer and public intoxication for allegedly disobeying an officer’s order to step back, yelling at officers to let a man under arrest go and slapping the officer’s are causing a minor injury while the officer was attempting to secure a perimeter at the scene of the fight.

Residential Burglary: 10:35 to 10:39 p.m. Nov. 17, 1900 block of Manhattan Avenue.  A resident heard the voices of two males in the residence, shouted at them to leave and heard them leaving.  Police officers found a trail of muddy footprints and a screw driver that did not belong to the resident.  Entry appears to have been made through a window.

Theft: 6 to 6:15 p.m. Nov. 28, 700 block of Sunset Drive.  A man in a white older model van stopped his vehicle and took a backpack containing school books.  A boy had set the bag down as he was standing outside waiting for his mother to come home from work.


The Beach Reporter – December 7, 2006

Hermosa Beach – Crime Watch

BURGLARY. Someone reportedly removed a 50-inch plasma television from a residence in the 1200 block of Owosso Avenue. The incident allegedly occurred between 8 p.m. Nov. 29 and 5:17 a.m. Nov. 30. The victim allegedly exited his house to work in a rear workshop, locking the back door as he left. Upon returning, he noticed the door was unlocked and the television was gone. Several cables had reportedly been cut.


BURGLARY. Someone reportedly ransacked an apartment in the 2900 block of Manhattan Avenue and took a laptop computer. The incident allegedly occurred between 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 28. Upon returning to her apartment, the victim allegedly observed damage to the front door, which was opened by the intruder.


BURGLARY. A resident allegedly observed someone attempting to remove items from her purse at 3:19 p.m. Dec. 2. The incident allegedly occurred in the 2500 block of Ardmore Avenue. While preparing to drive to another city, a resident allegedly left her purse near the open front door to her home. Before departing, she began watering plants in her back yard. After hearing the doorbell, she allegedly walked to the side gate and told the person to leave. After realizing the front door was open, she returned to observe someone reaching into her purse. After shouting “Get out of my purse you little b**ch,” the suspect fled.


VANDALISM. A resident in the 200 block of 28th Street allegedly observed an individual smash the windshield of a Volkswagen Jetta at 2:46 p.m. Dec. 2. After the individual began smashing the sunroof of another car, the witness called the police.


BURGLARY. Someone reportedly entered a residence in the 1000 block of Hermosa Avenue and removed a Dell 17-inch flat-screen monitor. The incident allegedly occurred between 10 a.m. Nov. 18 and 10 a.m. Nov. 25.



Pier Avenue striping project - Though the council decided to return Pier Avenue to a four-lane road in October by a 4-1 vote, six residents appeared Tuesday night to urge the council not to do so.  “With a committee coming up it doesn't make too much sense to spend money to go back to four lanes,” said Larry Peha.  Local resident Shirley Cassell wasn't buying it. “The people on Monterey and Eighth Street have been waiting for seven weeks,” said Cassell. “No more fooling around because somebody up here is trying to get this thing carried forward and forward and forward.”  Councilman Kit Bobko agreed. “I don't think we can go back and ‘reneg' on the vote that was taken. Let's get this done.”  



Club 705 - A public hearing to consider revocation or modification of the conditional use permit for Club 705 was continued until the Planning Commission's next meeting in December.  The proprietors of the business appeared briefly at the onset of Tuesday's meeting but left shortly thereafter once it became clear that the matter was continued.  Local officials blamed proper notification as the reason behind the delay. A placard that is required to be posted on the premises for a certain period of time prior to the public hearing was not done so until this week, putting the city on questionable legal grounds had the owners decided to challenge the matter in court.   




Is there a relationship between Alcohol Abuse

on Crime and Public Safety in a community?

From: The U.S. Dept of Justice – Bureau of Justice Statistics – Alcohol and Crime

An Analysis of National Data on the Prevalence of Alcohol Involvement in Crime

Prepared for the Assistant Attorney General’s National Symposium on Alcohol Abuse and Crime

Hermosa Beach Crime Categories That Have Shown an Increase from 1998 thru 2004


                                                                                                                       Criminal         Adult           Total Calls        Disturbance                                   

                  Burglary       Robbery       Assaults        DUI        Citations        Arrests       For Service      Calls            

1998 --     113           17             77          150         562            608        19,951         3,199

2004 --     140           20           143          195       1,419        1,388        30,215         4,201


                                                                                                      Criminal          Adult           Total Calls        Disturbance

                   Burglary     Robbery       Assaults        DUI        Citations         Arrests       For Service      Calls               

                    Up           Up            Up            Up         Up             Up            Up              Up

               23.9 %    17.6 %      85.7 %      30 %     152 %        128 %       51.4 %        31.3 %

Crime Statistics provided by: The Hermosa Beach Police Department

Issues that the ABC considers when granting an On-Sale Alcohol License


The Stillwater American Bistro location is in a Census Tract where the ABC allows 4 On-Sale Licenses and there are 8 On-Sale Alcohol Licenses currently operating in that Census Tract.


Manhattan Beach has 27 alcohol outlets per sq. mile with a year 2000 population of 33,852.

Hermosa Beach has 65 alcohol outlets per sq. mile with a year 2000 population of 18,566.


Hermosa Beach has more than 2.4 times the Alcohol Outlet Density than Manhattan Beach.

In 2004, the Hermosa Beach per capita Arrests were 2.5 times more, than in Manhattan Beach.

Alcohol Outlet Density as a Cause of Crime and Violence

ISSUE: Issuance of the license will add to public nuisance in the area, specifically, it will be injurious to the health of, offensive to the senses of, and obstruction to the free use of property so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property of an entire neighborhood.

Alcohol Outlet Density - Retail alcohol outlets per square mile 


Manhattan Beach has 27 alcohol outlets per sq. mile with a year 2000 population of 33,852.

Hermosa Beach has 65 alcohol outlets per sq. mile with a year 2000 population of 18,566.

Hermosa Beach has more than 2.4 times

the Alcohol Outlet Density than Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach averaged less than 20,000 Calls for Service a year from 2001 to 2004.

Hermosa Beach averaged more than 30,000 Calls for Service a year from 2001 to 2004,

with a police force that is half the size of Manhattan Beach's.

In 2004, Hermosa per capita Calls for Service were 2.9 times more, than in Manhattan Beach.

Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach Crime Close-Up.  Years 1998 to 2004 Crime Stat Comparison Web/1%20HB%20CrimeNews%202006%201.htm

ISSUE: The applicant is requesting a Type 23 license that would violate the moratorium of the issuance of a new Beer and Wine Off Sale license.

The Stillwater American Bistro premises will need a Type 23 Off-Sale ABC alcohol license for a wine shop on the premises.

At this webpage: More Information on this Dec. 12, 2006 City of Hermosa Beach Public Hearing

What do you think?  Are New Alcohol Outlets in Hermosa Beach a Good Idea?

Read the opinions of Hermosa Beach residents and include you own.  

The Hermosa Beach Neighborhood Association

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