Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Torrance Says Yes to CCA Study

Torrance, CA

The January 27th, 2015 Torrance City Council meeting was eventful and busy.

Because the city council did not meet last week, and will not meet again until February 10, the council faced a large number of consent, financial, and administrative items.

Pat Furey

Mayor Pat Furey decided to expedite agenda items where a larger number of the public wanted to comment.

Two items which stood out were:

9A. Community Services - Review the triathlon held in 2014 and approve contract for 2nd annual triathlon to be held in September 2015 near Torrance Beach.
Recommendation of the Community Services Director that City Council review the findings from staff and approve Pacific Sports LLC hosting a 2nd annual triathlon Sunday, September 13, 2015 near Torrance Beach with the following conditions:
1)Meet all conditions of the City of Torrance and the Los Angeles County Beaches and Harbors;
2)Ensure all deposits, permits, and reimbursable fees are paid to the City by September 1, 2015;
3)Establish a City Administrative Fee of 15% of Gross Receipts for the percentage of the event that takes place on city property matching the requirement by Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors as all fees are paid by the City for this event; and
4)Direct staff to enter into a contract with Pacific Sports to ensure fees are paid and liability is covered for this event.

Some of the residents complained about the course, while other residents complimented the city on the event, and hoped that they would continue sponsoring it.

Because of extended discussion on the time, the city council moved for a recess.

At that time, I was surprised that Councilmember Tim Goodrich approached me. He told me that he had read my post about the Community Choice Aggregation agenda item, 12B, then told me that it would not be wise to share my concerns about project.

"I don't want you to look foolish", because you are talking about something that you may not understand. I responded that I am entitled to say what I want to about.

Tim Goodrich

After a second recess, Goodrich approached me, so that I could discuss this matter further.

One of the most frustrating aspects about the progressive world view, one which Mr. Goodrich espouses, rests on the argument that if Government creates a organization or a business, then offers a service in contrast to a private company, that consumers have a choice. Such is the case with the arguments for Community Choice Aggregation. Government agencies do not operate fully according to market forces, because their funding comes from taxes, not from free trade. Private firms must compete for business and profit. In California, SoCal residents get electricity from one provide, SoCal Edison. Proving customers a choice is a welcome idea, but not through the aggregated control of different cities entering into a complicated, potentially dysfunctional joint-powers agreement with other cities.

I reminded Goodrich that there is nothing foolish about members of the city sharing their concerns with the city council and Torrance residents. Rather than being offended, I was grateful that the councilmember approached me, because I could share my thoughts, and prepare my remarks for the entire city council.

Agenda Item 12 B appears below:

12B. City Manager - Adopt RESOLUTION to support study of feasibility study of Community Choice Aggregation.
Recommendation of the City Manager that City Council adopt a RESOLUTION to participate in a non-binding study of feasibility of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) for the City of Torrance.

 When this times came up for discussion from the public, I pointed out that arguing for any program based on flawed premises (government systems, based on a combination of local governments into a regional government) would never generate positive, let alone noteworthy results. I argued against taking time on a feasibility study not only because with these green programs, "the devil is in the details'. As Councilwoman Ashcraft had pointed out in previous questions, these programs need to take into account that Torrance is more than commercial and residential. There is also the question of city time and resources spent looking over these proposals. I also reminded the councilmembers that this regional government program would end up raising energy costs, as occurred in Marin County.

Mark Stephenson shared concerns about another government agency emerging, and the increased costs to taxpayers. He pointed out that the CCA would double the size of the city government, and all attending costs.

Three individuals spoke in favor of CCA, including a representative from a business. A young, enthusiastic supporter broke out in emotional approval for this project, saying "I love seeing cities getting together!" The naïve exuberance did not command a great deal of respect.

Joe Galliani
The third speaker in favor of CCA, Joe Galliani, took to the podium wearing a seat and a green tie, with a picture of the earth on it. A passionate environmentalist, he has appeared at other South Bay City Council meetings touting Community Choice Aggregation:

Redondo Beach

Hermosa Beach

Manhattan Beach

After comments from the audience, the city councilmembers remarked their support for the study whether it would be worthwhile for the city to explore joining a CCA. Open-minded and education were the key reasons for those officials who spoke on the matter. Agenda item 12 B passed unanimously.

After the council meeting, I spoke with another city resident, who was upset with councilmembers arguing for the feasibility study so that they can learn about the project. Why not do the research on their own? Why does the city spend time and manpower on this study?

Torrance, CA seal

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