$9 million in Redondo Beach taxpayer money wasted!

So here we are, facing the issue of funding the City of Redondo Beach commitment to the $9 million early buyout of the Fun Factory lease on the Redondo Pier (labeled in the City Council discussion documents as the “Fisherman’s Cove Lease”). $9 million is a lot of money, especially for the City of Redondo Beach. A lot of good things – useful things can be done with $9 million: public safety, road and traffic improvements, police, fire, park improvements, savings for lean times – a rainy day fund, and many, many other important priorities for Redondo Beach residents, with their own money. But no, the $9 million is being thrown away to buy out the lease of a business, 7 years early, to make room on public land for a privately-owned mall that the voters don’t want to be built. And it won’t be built.

The Redondo Beach City Council January 2017 vote on this $9 million buyout was 3-2, and one of the 3 was subsequently voted off the Council. Two of the three are sitting here before us, Laura Emdee and Christian Horvath. They are up for their vote in March.

Scary as it may sound, let’s take a moment to try to imagine what was in the minds of Councilmembers Emdee and Horvath in January 2017 when they decided to waste $9 million in Redondo Beach taxpayer money. They were hyper-aware that the Measure C public vote on the CenterCal mall was just 35 days away – after all, they had been energetically campaigning against Measure C – sometimes illegally in a public school, I might add. But they were thinking, “If we approve this $9 million public expenditure now, just 35 days before the residents’ vote, buying out the Fun Factory lease to make room for this mall project, the voters will react by simply shrugging and rolling over, rejecting Measure C and accepting the mall, because now millions of dollars of their tax money is committed to this massive expenditure. After all, the $9 million would be an enormous waste of money if Measure C passes, and we don’t build the giant mall on the Pier and Harbor.”

Well, Measure C was approved by the voters in every district – citywide 57% to 43%, an overwhelming 14% margin of victory – it wasn’t even close. The voters rejected Emdee and Horvath’s plan, because the voters don’t want a giant shopping mall on the pier and harbor. And pushing this $9 million waste of money just prior to the vote of the residents stands as one of the most arrogant and wasteful acts of government in Redondo Beach history. And here we are, with this arrogance in front of us.