I would like to see the Emergency Preparedness Commission continue as a Commission.
Our appointed Commissioners consist of Hermosa residents who collectively, have first hand knowledge and experiences from natural disasters most recently, the Woolsey Fire, the Thomas Fire and Hurricane Irma that hit Florida. In addition, we have first hand experiences in many other disasters including, hurricanes, earthquakes,tornadoes and civil unrest. In my humble opinion, there is no comparison to these experiences whether as a victim and/or helping in the aftermath of a disaster. The EPAC Commission is made up of Hermosa citizens that truly care for our community and are willing to share that knowledge with others. We have the pulse of the community given our various involvements within our community.
I know that Staff is of the opinion that community outreach is the primary niche our commission should serve, and they are of the belief that a different composition would be more effective. I believe, however that we also have the responsibility to provide guidance on emergency preparedness priorities in our community and implementation of the Hermosa Beach Hazard Mitigation Plan, that only residents can provide. I believe that the structure of a commission better serves this goal.
Thank you for your time.
Honorable Mayor, Councilmembers and Staff,
My name is Mike Detoy and I am a proud Hermosa Beach Emergency Preparedness Advisory Commissioner. Unfortunately, I am not able to come to the meeting today but I am writing this in hopes of gaining your support by rejecting staffs recommendation to disband EPAC. As a resident of Hermosa Beach for 8 years, I believe this sets a dangerous precedent for other civic volunteers who serve on other commissions. Public administrators come and go, but the residents are the true bedrock of any community. As a professional firefighter, I believe removing a group whose passion is disaster preparedness is a mistake. In California, the next disaster is when, not if.
As our society changes, the goal of government needs to increase public participation, not restrict it. With dual income households and longer work hours, community groups and volunteer organizations have understandably seen declining involvement. This is not the case in our Best Little Beach City. We have a skilled, knowledgeable and eager community who WANTS to serve. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
In closing, I want to remind everyone of a quote from our January study session and referenced from the 1/19/19 Easy Reader News article from our City Manager, Suja Lowenthal: “We have heard the term ‘disbanded’ a lot. That’s certainly not a term staff has used, and it’s not a recommendation from staff that we would ask you to consider.”
Staff felt strongly enough in January not to disband EPAC and I hope we have your support as well.
549 25th Street
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
I support the 5 person commission option. EPAC needs further oversight as I'm now told the EOC is no longer able to be utilized for that which it was constructed. It was constructed by well over 30 volunteers over about a 3 year period with the agreement that this would not be a room sitting idle and waiting for a disaster because they are few and far between. It would be allowed to be used for A) HBARA, and B) Any meetings that were public safety related. Since the locks have been changed and HBARA has been locked out, I hear that Public Safety groups are no longer allowed to have meetings there. This space was never intended to be long term office space, but now it has been this way for some time. I fear that if the Commission is removed, disaster preparedness will go along the same way our Neighborhood watch program has disappeared. We used to get weekly emails on crime and things happening around our town, but those have been long gone since the City took it over.
I am concerned that the City Manager doesn't have the full picture with 1 staff member pressing for the disbandment of EPAC, and the Area G Coordinator who also is pushing for disbandment. It saddens me to write this, but before the last joint meeting, the Area G Coordinator said to me that he hoped the EPAC meetings would go away because he hates driving down to the meeting in Hermosa. His wife had started a new business and he's been trying to help her with that, and that he can't wait to retire and move to Maryland. This is not someone who has Hermosa Beach in their best interest. Work that has been recently performed in the EOC has also caused broken ceiling tiles which is a fire code violation. When I looked at the EOC yesterday around 730pm, no one was there, but the computer monitors weren't in power save - they were brightly shining for the at least 12 hours that nobody would be there. That's not environmentally friendly.
The City Manager told previous Council that they would be taken to the EOC to inspect it, but that never happened. #CityManagerFail
Just now I heard there's a text message from a Council person to a resident that says there's no point in talking about this item because they already made up their mind and will go with staff recommendation. Aren't they supposed to take public comment with an open mind and then make their decision?
Lastly, if the HBARA will no longer be the disaster communications in the EOC - our group will need access to remove the $10,000+ of emergency communication equipment we have in there, and since the roof access has been roofed over. Someone will need to remove the HBARA antennas, cables and the weather station equipment.