Letters to the Editor: Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018

Not surprised by LAUSD superintendent’s success
When I read the headlines of the Feb 15 issue of the SB Sun, It didn’t surprise me when it read Dr. Kropp named OC Supt. Of the Year! I met Dr. Sherry Kropp while she was the Principal of Laurel. I was employed by the Seal Beach Police Department and served on a committee that met monthly at the District offices. Dr. Kropp led the committee meetings and was very hands on. She truly wanted to put the students first and wanted the schools safe and as drug free as possible.

I watched her career grow as she became the Assistant Principal a LAHS and as the Superintendent for the Los Alamitos School District.  Dr. Kropp surely deserves being named “OC Superintendent of the Year” I feel she is one of the top Leaders in our community.

Rick Paap

Los Alamitos

Parking meters/ public facilities
In your recent sidewalk opinion poll on parking meters, it appears that most of the respondents were negative towards parking meters. In the last few years, Seal Beach has become a definite tourist destination, with many hotels, restaurants, safe beaches etc, and most importantly the pier. The revenue from parking meters could be used to enhance the visitor experience by improving bathrooms, pier amenities and current beachside parking lots without a negative effect on tourism and business. Having traveled to nearly all of California’s coastal cities, I feel that Seal Beach has been short sighted in their resistance to the benefits of revenue from parking meters. Those cities that have parking meters also have well maintained facilities, such as Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Santa Barbara. These all are examples of fine public facilities, with the addition of parking meters. An example of a heavily trafficked tourist spot would be Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, an outstanding visitor’s area with clean, modern bathrooms, heavily trafficked but well kept. It appears to me that parking meters, on the contrary, have not hurt coastal cities, but rather have enhanced the visitor experience. In closing, even if the city does not choose to improve its facilities with parking meter revenue, we should find some way to upgrade the current bathroom facilities at First Street and pier side. They are wet, dank, and to me definitely places that need improvement, and not representative of the rest of our beautiful city.

Ken Hamdorf

56 year resident of Old Town Seal Beach

LW pool plans will destroy my happy place
The Leisure World Recreation Committee held a special meeting on Monday, Feb. 12, where they directed the Golden Rain Foundation selected design firm, Mission Landscape, to provide them with concept drawings that will ELIMINATE THE INSIDE SHOWERS and ELIMINATE THE LOCKER ROOMS.

Yes, you read that correctly, the Recreation Committee plans to present for final approval to the GRF Board of Directors concept plans for the so-called $1 Million pool “upgrade” that will ELIMINATE BOTH THE INSIDE SHOWERS and THE LOCKER ROOMS. This is a ridiculous idea that certainly does not serve the needs of the majority of the over 200 daily users of the swimming pool, many of whom are aging or already in their 80s and beyond.

Many swimmers, who heard the Recreation Committee’s rumored goal to ELIMINATE THE INSIDE SHOWERS, could not believe it since the other concepts (energy efficient, increased mobility access, pool expansion for additional lap lanes & larger multi-use area, elimination of deep end for uniform depth, and hot tub shade) presented to the design firm and listed on the committee’s agenda are great ideas. However, “Exterior Showers” was just simply included on the list of design concepts with no mention of the real goal to eliminate the inside showers.

Only if you attended the Recreation Committee Meeting would you have learned that their plan is to have ONLY outside showers and ELIMINATE THE INSIDE SHOWERS and THE LOCKER ROOMS!! The design firm was also presented the task of turning the women’s locker room into two halves with toilet stalls for men on one side of the building and toilet stalls for women on the other half.

During winter months that pre-swim outside shower will be brief at best but most likely eliminated altogether due to the cooler temperatures. Following your outside shower after your swim, if you want to change into dry clothes then you will “just have to use a toilet stall” was what one committee member relayed to the design firm.

The rationale discussed by committee members for this concept of NO inside showers and NO locker rooms, was to prevent “certain” female swimmers from taking long showers, dying their hair in the locker room showers, and wasting so many paper towels to dry off after showering instead of using a personal cloth towel. It hardly seems reasonable to radically change the areas serving the majority of swimming pool users by ELIMINATING BOTH THE INSIDE SHOWERS AND THE LOCKER ROOMS because of these so-called transgressions of a few.

Swimming pool users MUST ATTEND the next Leisure World Recreation Committee Meeting on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 at 1 p.m. in the Administration Building’s Conference Room on the 2nd Floor to express how unacceptable the ELIMINATION OF THE INSDIE SHOWERS and THE LOCKER ROOMS would be for the majority of pool users.

Be there!

Kathy McGehee, Leisure World Resident

A different view of Corteses’s vision
I have a great deal of respect for Mark Pogrebinsky (Sun News February 1, 2018 Guest Column)  and his dedication to do what he can to inform Leisure World shareholders about how their community is managed (or mis-managed). However, I have a slightly different view.  Ross Cortese did not create 16 mutuals in Leisure World for cost savings.  He created them so he could continue building and make money. In fact, in policy 7010 Cortese urged that the mutuals merge. He knew that maintaining 16 separate corporations would be an inefficient way to manage such a large community.

I share Mark’s frustration in describing laundry room and roofing issues in his mutual.  What Mark misses is the savings we could all enjoy if such projects were done community-wide, not just one mutual at a time. I don’t think we would even have to merge the mutuals to realize the savings we could gain from community-wide projects.

What we would need is a professional, experienced staff who have previously managed large projects.  Instead we have 20th century staff with 20th century management experience and practices.  How have we missed the fact that we are now in the 21st century?

Again, I have a little different view than what Mark suggests.  He appears to say that the CEO hired four years ago has encouraged the GRF to spend money unnecessarily and use service maintenance staff for administrative projects, keeping shareholders waiting for services.

My view is more that the CEO is trying to bring the 21st century to Leisure World but meets resistance from staff and shareholders alike.  Recently I found myself thinking about myself and my senior neighbors.  Most of us go to one or more professionals for regular check-ups recognizing that we need experienced help in managing our physical and dental health.  We know we can’t ‘do it ourselves.’  When was the last time Leisure World management had a check-up? Was there EVER a time that Leisure World had the courage to ask an expert to evaluate our management practices?  Why not? What do we gain by continuing to function like we did 56 years ago?  What has stood still in that 56 years? Telephone technology? Computer technology?  Medical treatments? The world around us has changed dramatically and yet we remain stuck in the 1960’s. In 1962 I would be writing this on a typewriter using carbon paper for one copy!! Now I can email it to the Sun and anyone else I please!!

In 2015 Laguna Woods (OC Register April 22, 2015) paid a consultant to evaluate their governance.  They found many inefficiencies; redundancies; overspending; directors who did not know the difference in governing and managing; too many meetings; resistance to change.

With direction and support, all of these things can be fixed and the community would be better for having made the effort.  Where are the leaders in Leisure World who have the courage to step up and demand an evaluation to help move us out of the 20th century?  One man, one CEO cannot do it alone.

At the President’s Council meeting on February 1st, the guest speaker, an attorney, Mr. Steven Roseman spoke about the difficulty in filling Mutual Board Director positions and suggested that changing the mutual by-laws to reduce the size of the board as one way to address the problem.

This is exactly what needs to be done with the GRF Board.  Change the by-laws and reduce the size of the board to 5 or 7 individuals. Elect these individuals from the whole community. This would give us an opportunity to really ELECT GRF Board members from a group whose credentials we could evaluate before making our decision.

This would eliminate our current practice of “electing” most of our GRF Board members from a slate of one. A smaller board would work more efficiently and effectively in managing our community with an experienced staff who would provide 21st century solutions to our problems. As it was always meant to be, the board would govern and the staff would manage.

When Mr. Roseman began his remarks, he said  ‘It is very dangerous to not know that you don’t know.’  This is an alert to all Board members, for only when you are able to admit that you do not know something can you seek help from someone who does.

You think it’s bronchitis, but what if it’s pneumonia?  Your life might depend on getting the right answer. The health of our Leisure World future depends on getting an accurate diagnosis of our problems and expert help in finding and implementing solutions.

Anne Walshe

Leisure World