SACRAMENTO — Two bills passed by the Legislature last Saturday, just before lawmakers headed home for the year, include provisions that directly benefit South Bay cities. A third measure revived a proposal to clean up Harbor Lake in Harbor Regional Park, south of Pacific Coast Highway and west of the Harbor Freeway.
One bill, by Sen. William Lockyer (D-Hayward), earmarks for next year an estimated $7 million in aid to small cities statewide. According to supporters, about $800,000 would go to six South Bay cities--Carson, El Segundo, Lawndale, Lomita, Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates.
Another measure, by Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco), sets aside $4 million in state tideland oil revenues for legislators' pet projects, including $600,000 for improvements to the Manhattan Beach Pier.
A third bill, assembled at the last minute by Sen. Dan McCorquodale (D-San Jose), split up $20 million in tidelands funds for parks around the state, including $200,000 to remove pollution and clean up marshland at Harbor Lake in Harbor Regional Park. Earlier in the week Assemblyman Dave Elder (D-Long Beach) shelved his bill to set aside $500,000 for the cleanup, but he succeeded in having $200,000 added to the McCorquodale measure.
The three measures are awaiting action by Gov. George Deukmejian. The governor has not commented on the two bills dividing up tidelands oil revenue, but legislative leaders say they expect him to sign them.
Tom Beerman, a spokesman for the governor, said Deukmejian has indicated a willingness to sign the measure to aid small cities.
The legislation was part of a landmark bill to shift the burden of trial court costs from the counties to the state. Under the measure, counties would have the option of adopting the transfer. If signed, it would free about $300 million statewide for other programs, including long-sought aid to cities that levy either no property tax or have a low property tax rate.
The help for cities would be phased in over a decade, with cities getting 10% more each year for the next 10 years. By the time it was fully implemented, the measure would cost the state about $220 million a year.
Pushed by Lobbyist
The plan has been pushed by Joe Gonsalves, a former Norwalk assemblyman who now is a lobbyist for southeast Los Angeles County cities that would benefit from the legislation.
Legislative staffers estimated that under the bill Carson would be the biggest winner among South Bay cities, getting nearly $400,000 in the first year. Of the other cities El Segundo would get an estimated $237,000; Lawndale, $51,000; Lomita, $51,000; Rolling Hills, $13,000, and Rolling Hills Estates, $68,000.
Meantime, Sen. Robert Beverly (R-Manhattan Beach) and his staff persuaded Speaker Brown to insert $600,000 into his bill for the state-owned Manhattan Beach Pier. The money--which would go to the state Coastal Conservancy--could be used to either repair or replace the 67-year-old, 928-foot-long shoreline landmark.
State and Manhattan Beach city officials say that if Deukmejian signs the bill it could prompt public hearings on a long-standing controversy over whether the pier should be rebuilt or just renovated.
Salt water has corroded the steel reinforcing the pier's concrete, which in turn has begun to fall off, according to Michael Daly, administative analyst for the city.
Daly said this week that it would cost between $1.7 million and $1.8 million to restore the pier. The new funds--combined with funds previously allocated for the pier--would mean the state would have nearly $1.7 million for the task, Daly said.
Lee Warren, supervising architect for the state Parks and Recreation Department, said this week that as much as $5 million could be required to build a new pier. He said historical preservation groups have argued that if the pier is replaced it should replicate the original structure.
"Community groups are reluctant to see it torn down," acknowledged Les McCargo, chief deputy parks director. As a result, he said, the fate of the pier will not be determined before public hearings and a full examination of the issues with city and community groups.