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Camera-Shy Council Gets Her Attention

August 25, 1985

First of all, I am not involved in local politics. I head a Neighborhood Watch group and belong to the Redondo Beach Historical Society. That is the extent of my contact with any local officials.

Saturday afternoon (Aug. 17) I had a Neighborhood Watch pot-luck supper and a K-9 demonstration at my house for 64 people. The Police Department showed us how dogs are used to apprehend criminals and they sold hats and shirts to help raise money for another dog. During an intermission Mr. Gonzalez announced that the subject of the medical center parking problem on our street was to be on the agenda at the council meeting (last) Monday evening. He asked that as many of us as possible attend the meeting.

I said I would go and make a videotape so our Neighborhood Watch group could see our City Council in action. That brought up the subject of the City Council rejecting the suggestion of our mayor that the council meeting be televised. Most of the cities around televise their council meetings, but Redondo Beach city councilmen are worried about how they will look on TV.

If looks are to determine whether our council meetings receive TV coverage, perhaps a screen test should be taken before names can be put on the ballot. They were not elected to office because of their looks. They were elected because they promised to serve the community. What better way to serve the community than to have the community aware of the issues each week at the council meeting?

I left the council meeting Monday night very concerned about the way some of the situations are handled. For instance, Councilman Archie Snow made a motion to outlaw leaf-blowers in the city. People blow their leaves into their neighbor's yard and the leaves are "trespassing," he said.

Councilman Jack Chapman seconded the motion but he thought Snow said "glass-blowers." It's frightening to me that someone the voters thought was intelligent enough to make decisions for the city could come up with such a ridiculous law. Even more frightening is that another elected official would second the motion without even hearing it correctly. If Redondo residents could have seen that meeting via television, I am sure many of them would agree that Councilman Chapman was ready and willing to second any motion made by Snow--whether it made sense to him or not.

I got the impression perhaps Councilman Snow was having problems with neighbors and leaf-blowers and wished to solve the problem by using his position as councilman. I truly hope I am wrong because the city has two magnolia trees in the parkway in front of my house. Those leaves have been trespassing on my property for the last 33 years. I would add sprinkler systems to the list also. I cannot park in my driveway because the water from the sprinklers next door trespasses all over my car. I am also having problems with the construction behind my house. The dirt the bulldozer throws around trespasses on my picnic tables and in my fountain. So I would like the list to read "leaf-blowers" (or glass-blowers), magnolia trees, sprinkler systems and bulldozers (plus whatever, you, the reader wish to add).

At end of the meeting Councilman Chapman pointed his finger at me and made a motion to forbid taping any more council meetings. His reason: It was distracting. My camera has one small flashing red light, the exact size of a small, closed, gold safety pin. It makes no noise, it requires no additional lighting. The camera was on a tripod and I sat in a corner by myself.

I went to the meeting for the sole purpose of taping it to show to my neighbors so they could watch the council handle a problem that directly affects them. That problem was handled very well--but I left that meeting with the impression that Redondo Beach has a problem. A lot of things become obvious when you "see" the meeting, instead of reading about it in the paper.

I can understand why the council does not want to be televised, but for the sake of the city of Redondo Beach, I think we had better let them know that we voted them into office, they are supposed to represent us and we want to watch them do it.

Politics has never interested me. Redondo Beach interests me. I'm frightened by what I saw, so now politics interests me.

ANN BAKER

Redondo Beach

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