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3-8-2001 NRBBA Notes

Big meeting, big topic, "big shots" all present: William Meeker, Planning Director, and other city staff presented and discussed the Artesia Redevelopment Plan (see News Headlines). Attendance was large! Seats around the table and rows behind were full with regular attendees as well as other business owners along the traffic corridor. Councilmen Parsons, Pinzler, and newly elected Schmalz were present. Questions got tough at times in exploring what exactly was going to be done and when, including whether the first "out-of-the-block" repaving would be compromised (torn up) by later sub-projects in the redevelopment. Similar to the "Heart of the City" process, neighborhood meetings will be scheduled to communicate more and gather feedback on issues, budgets, and priorities.

Ron was "out of the house" for the first time since a bout with pneumonia (which required hospitalization). So, his voice was somewhat softer (but still carrying a big stick, eh).

2-8-2001 NRBBA Notes


Bob Pinzler, Councilman District 4: farewell / thank you.

John Parsons (District 5): forum on February 23 at Performing Arts Center 6:30pm re energy problem and solutions.

Presentations - District 4 Council Seat Candidates

[See Easy Reader, 2-1-2001, page 12, "Council hopefuls question RB's 'Heart of the city'"; The Beach Reporter, 2-1-2001, page 10, "City Council candidates debate for first time"]

District 4 Council seat candidates - Kurt Schmalz, Conrad Schroeder

Kurt: Some background, issues. Artesia redevelopment -- let me hear what your vision of boulevard is. E.g., concerns: safety. He sees as more pedestrian friendly; specific plans to be determined. His experience on Planning Commission -- worked to get shared parking for small businesses -- new ordinance (effective February) -- as Dick Hyde previously discussed. Possible zoning changes to facilitate business mix and draw business in from new homes in neighborhood. Question: re Sand Tots parking -- they use shared parking strategy, as well as other parking spaces.

Kurt: Would like to see parking lot, street fairs.

Dick: Question re crime, e.g., latest Galleria incident. Kurt: Some comments on perception in 1990's, significant police presence at Galleria; as businesses develop probably may need larger police presence.

Kathy: Question/comment: Remember that there are two main thoroughfares -- Artesia as well as Aviation! Kurt: Good point.

Ernie: Question re import of Heart of the City for District 4. Kurt: We're not talking about major major development. Harbor area potential is underutilized. Harbor/Pier area tremendously beneficial to District 4 since don't need to keep piling centers there [in District 4]. Harbor area will carry a better share of economic return. Exciting times ahead for businesses.

John Parsons: where's your Rotary pin? [laughter]

Conrad: Some background, here for college 1993, been here since 1990. Attorney. Main issues are crime and development. Comments on perceptions of area. Need better coordination between police and businesses. Need to run gangs out of area. Gang injunction as a shield -- insure that no doubt it will be exercised.

Conrad: Development - story with a business owner re pedestrian-use plans -- must deal with fact that Artesia is a thoroughfare; balance safety and access. Not sure will benefit businesses. Re opponent, he's "running in the wrong direction" -- re Heart of the City. He wants money conserved for North Redondo. Heart of City has potentialities; doesn't want to see City Walk type venue. Must benefit businesses. Existing economic engine here on Artesia and at Galleria. Whatever we do in Harbor must draw people in Redondo and not wrong element (re crime/safety).

Ernie: Question re spending in Harbor/Pier. Conrad: What's the expectation, what are we going to get? Rent? Keep in perspective with what we want to accomplish.

Bob Pinzler: Question: Did you say gang injunction was not being enforced? Conrad: No, just that we need to keep using, maintain, prosecute actively.

John Parson: Question: You mean funds by City attorney? Budget. Conrad: Yes, continued funding.

Don Szerlip: Question re don't want to bring in high end development and Prop 13 (?). Conrad: Not shackled by Prop 13 ... tax base. If we have money to do planning, budget ...

Pinzler: Question: City reportedly losing $400 for each new house built -- how do we propose getting revenue for development? Conrad: ...

Question re all the money being spent on Aviation Park. District 4 and 5 need to work together as a unit. Conrad: Yes, important to have strong advocate on Council (since 3 other council members' votes can override).

Mansour comment: Need to work as a team and not antagonize other members. re Sammy murder, was an incident, but always felt safe. Conrad: Yes, opposed to a police substation. Yes, teamwork, but recognize other council members elected from other parts of city [so interests differ].


Art Hernandez: Report: 3 incidents at Albertson's, re crime on Artesia -- slim to none, other than incident at Galleria; totality in city, presence of crime minimal; hope that businesses on Artesia feel safe. Working on day laborer situation, lots to deal with due to recent legislation, tricky. Need to contact property owner re Post Office parking that Starr raised.

Pinzler: [with deference to previous candidate] the most dangerous place in RB is crosswalk. It's been a tremendous effort to reduce crime in 1990's. Reduction came from community policing and redeployment, measures introduced with start of current Police Chief; PD has done tremendous job in doing work and accepting change, far more difficult than most people would know. Example was taking out the Redondo Court Hotel on Artesia with code enforcement -- was where much of the crime was coming. Continued ability to manage street will make area even better.

Comments from Art, John P and Bob P re traffic flow (drop off) at post offices in city. Parking spaces, islands, curb zones. Comments from Mansour on moving mail boxes from front to back. Art: Will likely have same issues, will need to go inside.

Rob Hall: Commercial rehab 2500 block painting, preschool, new signage, upcoming Dick Hyde project with Indian restaurant; Independent Repair east of Mobile Station; renovation signage glazing, plastering; El Indio expressed interest in program; Art Herring & Tom Loegering bought place at 2510 Artesia. Rob hopes have enough money to help everyone. Staff going to lead-based paint training program for certification. Ernie: Comments on Artesia relinquishment and priorities (for street and store fronts). Rob the program budget is $40,000 with 40-60 split. Ernie: If, say, 20 businesses want to upgrade and exceeds budget item, why have businesses wait til next year -- not want to see businesses suffer. Pinzler: Also manpower issue. Pinzler: Contract with CalTrans for money but then go out on bidding process with contractors. Dick: Question for Pinzler -- How get street improvements contracted? Pinzler: 20 year street (plan), signalization, ... Dick: Public hearings? Pinzler: May select certain intersections; now can put in synchronization if we want to; also beautification piece; not sure if bid at same time or in sequence -- a process. Parsons: Public Works will be active.

Rob (cont): Roof projects on track. Loan program 5 or 6 applicants currently; problem getting contractors to bid on. Anyone know of contractors for $10,000 - $20,000 for remodeling work? Pretty much on goal.

1-11-2001 NRBBA Notes


Starr: Correspondence: Giselle Zuluaga (from AllState Insurance) sent thank you and compliment on NRBBA forum (last meeting).

Rob: Rehab update: India Restaurant roof repair; negotitating Independent Repair; Jimmy Cordonas repainted; 10K Race signs up; facade painting to-be-scheduled (TBS); Preschool pretty well finished; Artesia Associates some minor stucco work TBS. 2110 Artesia ?. Housing: lead-base paint new HUD regulations -- need to deal with lead paint testing, new issue, might affect how many people can help in future. Low interest loan program taking off, one to start, 2 more applications -- was away for 10 years, so starting up again. Ron: What years lead base paint used? Rob: Some in 50's and 60's no problem. Dick H.: In 1970's some overlap; AQMD also made more difficult get quality oil-based paints, so water-based paints improved a lot; Texas "loves" oil-based paints.

Art: Not much to report; holiday season "the usual" at Galleria -- same stuff; Artesia pretty quiet. Mike Diehr handles from 190th to Grant. Some questions re recent activity: Harbor with helicopter -- news channel. John: Coast guard helicopter was hovering out at sea for training exercises. Mark Conte: He and Tom on storm watch yesterday for Rotary Club. Starr: Question re discussion with Fire Department re parking at Post Office in fire access red curb. Art: Trying to contact property owner. Art: Also not enough disabled parking there in back parking area; several issues being addressed; also may propose mail drop in entry way. Starr: Maybe if Dan and I take pictures of traffic snarls there -- how looks when cars park on both sides of entry. Art: Not owned by USPS; post office staff aware of problems outside.

Mark Conte: SpringFest: Vendor booth applications to be mailed in 10 days; signed contract with same carnival company as last year; proposed construction on site, so not sure how will change booths "green" area plan layout. Carnival will start on a Thursday night in April before Easter. John P.: Mark does good job with signage (parking directions). Starr: High school ROTC drill team done performance for event? Mark: Might look into (familiar with team for other events, e.g., SuperBowl). Mansour: Basically same as last year? Mark: Yes. Dog demonstration again. John P.: Construction on site to be awarded in February; until contractor assigned, then can't say much re schedule.

Ron: Question to Mark re 10K run. Mark: This year more family focus versus elite athlete. Elites not being paid or getting hotel rooms. Eliminated mile run. Changed order of starts to improve flow. Intervals between races. "Super Kids" for past 3 years; warmup on stage; will start in front of walkers in "elite" box -- so more of a show. Comments on pace car (with Ernie O'Dell). Mark: Comments on skaters race, "party" area after finish. [RBCC web site has registration.]

Ron: Next month working on getting candidates for District 4 to be here. Candidates Forum at RB Library January 25. Already had presentation re term limits proposition. In addition Prop C & D. John P.: Re C: Basically design-build may be done in many cities but RB charter does not allow; analogy to computer hardware & software to different suppliers (with resulting "pointing fingers" at each other when there's a problem) -- C will permit suppliers to put together a team, with which city discusses plans; if something goes wrong team is responsible (vs. individual contractor); group to put together contractor strengths. Prop D is charter amendment to change financial accounting responsibility from city clerk to city manager; removes requirement for 15 units of accounting for city clerk; change in provision re responsibility for deputies and their roles, so similar to other departments. Charter review committee in 1990's proposed language change, city council accepted some, committee sent back same, council didn't act at that time. Survey done on 40 charter cities, 12 other general law cities -- not one had accounting, budget, and finance responsibility with city clerk's office. Changes for council and city manager to form government.

Mansour: Anything new happening on Artesia -- to Rob. Rob: Parking lot in 5-year plan. John P.: One problem is manpower -- Aaron focusing on Heart of City plan. Edison focused on other things currently. Rob: Sort of on hold. Ron: When does city actually take over Artesia. John P.: Cities need to sign off; assume approved; just has to effect transfer. Ron: Maybe 2nd quarter. John P.: Coordination among cities for actual improvement projects; not sure how all will get worked out.

[John P. graduated from Leadership Redondo Monday evening.] John P.: Some comments on what Leadership Redondo is all about. One of the most impressive parts is the people you go through the program with.

12-14-2000 NRBBA Notes


Starr: Thanks to Expresso Coffee (at Texaco) for supplying coffee for all meetings -- sign card.

Charlsie Swift-Taylor, student, advertising in Redondo Union High School High Tide school newspaper -- advertise your business.

Art H.: Recognition ceremony this morning for city employees (he's videographer for event). Handouts: resource cards, holiday crime prevention guide, what retailers should know about shoplifting, Business Watch program. Q&A: Galleria police coverage -- visibility of teams, security escort to car. Perception of some that "something's going on if police are around" -- conflicting attitudes re policing policy. Gang elements generally moved to other cities (cf. injunction 5 years ago). Dick -- shoplifting also gone down. Statistics. When on parole or probation, gang members goof off -- Redondo's program tracks; so, there's deterrent. Question re quick parking in driveway of Post Office (on both sides!) blocking access to back parking -- red zone. Comment re tagging. Question re fax Crime Watch report distribution -- Mansour getting multiple copies. Comment re day laborers surfacing again on Artesia. Art: some new case law re handling -- cannot do what we were doing before. Case in LA where guy hanging out was lawyer and filed suit. So, got to be careful with everyone.

Presentation: Giselle Zuluaga from AllState Insurance, personal financial representative, consultant. Retirement planning from employer and employee perspectives. "What's important about money to you?" Core values lead to plan. Plans set up to save taxes and provide benefits. Reasons for reluctance. IRAs. 401K plans more expensive, with setup fees. Contribution schemes. More choices now. Q&A. IRA types. Number of employees.

Marna: Chamber resource for workforce development program (1 - 25 employees) $300 year subscription via Nation Jobs on Chamber's Web site. Try free one month subscription. January 25 Ron's chairing candidates forum for March 6 election at library (no questions from floor, so submit). February 22 state of city presentation at Crown Plaza.

Q&A re candidates forum. Why in some cases no opposition? Ron: not incumbency factor, since in most past cases challenger won. John Parsons: sign of the times. Everyone 3 times as busy than 10 years ago. Time to knock on doors. No big controversy to run on. Example: only 2 candidates in District 2, where usually more.

Dick: Parking situation, change in parking regulation for small businesses, before city council for public hearing. If passes steps in process, then can reapply for conditional use permit re number of parking places (3 in question to satisfy criteria total) with adjoining restaurant, for which business cycles for parking complimentary. Useful tool for city which might benefit other businesses. Planning commission flexibility.

Starr: Artesia lights, then electricity crisis. AES supply okay? John P: Yes. But news about PGE and SCE almost bankrupt is alarming. Marna: Regulated rate re losing million dollars an hour. John: Energy exchange bidding process -- highest bid applied to all bidders at close of bids!

Brian Tully, AllState, does casualty side. May be back another time to present information.

11-9-2000 NRBBA Notes

Jerry Goddard Jerry Goddard: Presentation re "bad checks" -- where amount entered not correct and on back says "paid in full." Prior law said can cross out "paid in full" and obtain full amount, but legislature passed law that conflicts -- so that "paid in full" even if crossed out and check cashed. Most recent expression of legislative intent -- if accept check as payment in full, then that's it. Pitfall in this area. Q: If write in memo section on front. -- A: Also.

[General] Rule of law -- contracts, even the shortest of expressions, upheld. Checks can be binding contracts, but any changes must be known to both parties.

Handout: "Redondo Beach City Attorney's Office Business Brief: Debt Collection - What Creditors Need to Know: Depositing a Check Marked "Paid in Full."


Q: Who knows the names of the electoral college members (electors) for the state? A: [Background on process and possibilities of voting.]


Q: Do we own Artesia Blvd yet? A: Caltrans will be passing traffic & street control [?] to City; and funds transfer .... John Parsons: We got less than we asked for -- was asking $15M, offered $10M, receiving $7M, split among 4 cities based on footage of the highway. ADA, new signals & wiring, resurfacing street, drainage issues, cross gutters. Asked for administration of project consulting engineering but whether each city do own portion or coordinate still needs to be negotiated with other cities for money. Within 12 - 18 months maybe project start. Transfer of funds require approval of all 4 city councils (RB, Lawndale, HB, MB). [See Easy Reader's and The Beach Report's articles below.]

Q: Enough money?


Rob Hall: Jerry Cordonas [?] contract to paint; other for signage; Dick [?] working to get roof on restaurant; ...


Ron: Plan to get holiday lighting on Artesia -- first trim trees, city has done; power redone on most blocks where lights will be placed, not enough money to wire entire route -- about 6 blocks; question of how many blocks will actually be done, will hear by next meeting. [See notes last meeting.] $10,000 to $12,000 in question. Not sure how Aaron Jones will work out final plan. Which City pot of money will get funds from.

Q: What would it take to leave up all year round?

Parsons: 3 or 4 years lighting decorations 110V but poles 220V so transformers needed; and if left up all year, what special for the holidays? Way the lights are in Riviera Village is different. Year round need to talk with Aaron and find out costs. Center divider paid by South Bay Center Development Funds. Putting lights up and keeping them up is perhaps funding question.

Star P: 3-year contract, $300 per tree for putting up and taking down. Ron: Don't bet on it. Parsons: Mark Conte gets cheery picker and sometimes puts up for Riviera Village. Ron: My understanding is around $300 per tree.


Star - Sometime ago discussion of Redondo not having downtown area. Something in news.

Parsons: Can tell you plan for Riviera but bigger picture is redevelopment of Harbor area. Riviera issue is parking for each business. Riviera Village Association plans events each year; and works to get businesses to stay open longer at holiday season. Other hope is Business Improvement District -- operate for own success and tax themselves. Lower Pier area in HB similar. Geoff: Businesses control own destiny -- good approach. Some succeed, some not. Mansour: Walked on Artesia many times trying to raise money and many just closed door (not interested). Parsons: If someone willing to set the example.



What should you do when you send a bill to a client or customer and the client responds by sending you a check for a lesser amount marked "payment in full" or "payment in full and final settlement?"

It has long been the rule that a creditor who deposits a check marked "paid in full" has implicitly agreed to accept the lesser amount as payment in full for the obligations, and has waived the right to try to recover the balance. 'Me creditor was faced with the no-win situation of agreeing to a discount on the account, or returning the check and receiving no payment at all in order to preserve the right to sue on the obligation.

California attempted to solve this dilemma in 1987. The Legislature enacted Civil Code Section 1526, providing (with certain exceptions) that where the creditor disputed the amount of the payment submitted by the debtor, it could strike the phrase "payment in full," deposit the check, and retain its right to sue for the balance. This law was intended to protect the creditor from a debtor who wanted to dangle a partial payment in front of the creditor in the hope of pressuring the creditor into discounting the obligation. This law was ideal for the creditor, because he was permitted to accept the debtor's payment without sacrificing the balance of the claim.

But, as you might expect, things are not that clear and simple. Five years later, in 1992, the Legislature enacted Section 3311 of the California Commercial Code. In essence, this statute provided that if a creditor deposited a check marked "payment in full," the creditor would be treated as having accepted the check in full satisfaction of the obligation, even if he crossed out the limiting language before depositing the check. When it passed this new law in 1992, the Legislature made absolutely no mention of Section 1526.

In 1998, a federal court in Los Angeles was faced with the problem of determining how to reconcile these two contradictory laws. "Me situation was typical. 'Me creditor had sent a bill. The debtor had issued a check for a lesser amount marked "full and final settlement. " The creditor crossed out the limiting language, deposited the check, and sued the debtor for the balance of the claim. The creditor argued he had complied with Section 15 26. The debtor responded that Section 3 3 11 should apply, meaning the deposit of the check left the creditor with no right to sue. The court determined the two statutes were in direct conflict, and there was no logical way to harmonize them. So the court relied on a well-established legal rule that where two laws are in direct conflict, the newer law must prevail over the older one. Priority was given to Section 3311. The court concluded that a creditor who deposits a check marked "payment in full" has no further recourse against his debtor. If the creditor wants to pursue a claim for the full amount, he must first return the check to the debtor.

While the federal court decision is not necessarily the final answer on the topic, it is certainly a persuasive interpretation. Therefore, until the statutes are changed, or a California state court issues a ruling to the contrary (which may never happen), the prudent course for a creditor is to assume that the deposit of a check with a notation indicating "payment in full" may well discharge the entire obligation. If the creditor does not wish to compromise the debt, he should return the check uncashed and decide whether to negotiate for a higher payment or whether to take legal action to enforce the debt. (As an aside, we might wish our elected lawmakers could make themselves more aware of existing laws before passing new ones, in order to avoid an embarrassing and confusing situation like this.)

(310) 318-0655

Easy Reader
November 9, 2000
Page 14

Artesia transfer approved by city council
by Jason Dietrich

Redondo motorists tired of delays and potholes along Artesia Boulevard may soon only have to drive as far as City Hall to complain.

The Redondo Beach City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday to take control of the portion of Artesia Boulevard in the city of Redondo Beach. In the deal Caltrans would cede control of almost 2.5 miles of Artesia Boulevard between Pacific Coast Highway and Hawthorne Boulevard to the cities of Redondo Beach, Lawndale, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach. Caltrans would also pay out more than $7,000,000 total to those cities to make needed repairs. Hermosa Beach has already agreed to the terms onto the deal, said Hermosa City Manager Steve Burrell. A letter from Manhattan Beach City Manager Geoff Dolan said Manhattan Beach is waiting for it to be approved by Redondo Beach and Lawndale before putting it before their council.

Redondo Beach would receive control of 65 percent of the street and $174,000 paid to consultants for surveys and studies. City staff estimated that Redondo Beach's share of the funds would be $4,447,300. That money would go towards repairing the aging storm drains, fixing the pavement and installing an audible pedestrian crossing.

The cities want to take control of the thoroughfare in order to speed its repair and upgrading. In recent years, Caltrans' focus has been on keeping up the freeway system rather than state highways.

Redondo Beach maintenance crews have already been patching potholes and making emergency repairs and billing Caltrans for the patching, with mixed success.

The takeover would allow the city to install synchronized traffic signals that could speed traffic along the congested boulevard and possibly resurface the street. ER

The Beach Reporter
November 9, 2000
Page 10

Artesia relinquishment approved
by Michael Hixon

For 12 years, the city of Redondo Beach has negotiated with Caltrans to assume responsibility of Artesia Boulevard to promote its revitalization.

At its Nov. 7 meeting, the Redondo Beach City Council unanimously approved a relinquishment proposal from Caltrans in the amount of $7 million to transfer ownership of Artesia within Redondo Beach, Lawndale, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach.

The $7 million offer from Caltrans covers 2.44 miles of Artesia in Redondo Beach or about 65 percent of the highway involved in the overall transfer to all the cities. Pending the final agreement with the other four cities, Redondo Beach's share would be more than $4.4 million, according to City Engineer Steve Huang.

By taking over control of Artesia, city officials hope to get quicker response to street problems and more control over smaller issues, including street sign placement and business aesthetics.

Mayor Greg Hill said the agreement with Caltrans is a good compromise after several years of failed negotiations.

"I think its good idea to take charge of the street," Hill said. "Maintenance has been neglected over the years."

Since 1996, negotiations have come to a halt on several occasions after differences on the amount of money reimbursed to the city for repairs could not be resolved. City officials believe that it is important to get as much from Caltrans as possible, because once the transfer is completed, the city will be responsible for any and all repair costs.

On Oct. 16, Redondo Beach City Manager Lou Garcia received a letter from Caltrans acting Chief Deputy District Director Douglas Failing stating the city's estimate of $10.1 million for placing Artesia in a "state of good repair" was unacceptable.

"Considering that we are close to reaching an impasse, Caltrans is willing to compromise and present a final offer of $7,016,000," Failing wrote. "I believe both our staffs have expended considerable time in a good-faith effort to reach agreement on relinquishing Artesia Boulevard. If Caltrans' final offer is unacceptable, it would be best to suspend negotiations until some time in the future."

Garcia, along with Hermosa Beach City Manager Steve Burrell and Manhattan Beach City Manager Geoff Dolan, wrote letters to Failing stating they believed the compromise was fair. The Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Lawndale city councils have to approve the proposal for it to go through, which Huang feels is likely.

[Photo caption]
It took 12 years to finally reach an agreement with Caltrans to relinquish control of Artesia Boulevard to Redondo Beach.

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