If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself
— Henry Ford

On February 6, 2019, PVrrg hosted the first Candidate Forum for the upcoming March 5th City Council Election. All six (active) candidates participated in this two hour gathering in PVE City Council Chambers in front of a Standing Room Only crowd. The questions were selected by PVrrg from ones we received through our website, by email and on cards filled out by attendees at the event. Each candidate was given up to 1 minute to respond to each question. This page contains the entire event, and the videos are broken up by question so you’ll find it easier to navigate to the question of most interest to you.

Immediately below is the Entire 2 Hour Forum if you’d like to view continuously

the section below breaks up the Forum by questions so you can jump to the section of most interest to you

Introduction and Groundrules by Moderator
(PVrrg member Michael Thiel)

Opening Statements by Each Candidate

Question 1: City Finances

Based on the Financial Advisory Committee’s trend analysis, the city’s revenue is growing at approximately 2%/year and expenses are growing at a little over 3%/year. It appears that there are 4 options to deal with this. One is you can draw down reserves, you can reduce expenses, raise revenue, sell assets. So the question is, what approach would you take? And why would you take it?

Question 2: Pension Liability

The City’s Unfunded Pension liability continues to grow. While it is a future liability, and doesn’t have to be paid in one year, we are charged interest (currently 7.5%) on unpaid principal. The amount the City owes is real, is due, and can’t be “forgiven”. What do you see as the biggest issues and risks in this area and how would you propose to deal with those issues?

Question 3: Police Benchmarking & Best Practices

The bulk of the City’s budget (over 50%) is dedicated to public safety (which includes the police and fire department). Would you be in favor of a comprehensive benchmarking study that provides an “apples to apples” comparison of our costs (per resident, per household) to other cities - with objective of best practice implementation and cost reduction? 

Question 4: Managing Cost of Police

Our city’s annual cost for public safety has been variously analyzed as between 3.5 and 4 times higher than other cities on the hill – whether you look at per capita issue or cost per home or cost per acre (for data and analysis on this click here).  We have just signed an MOU that gives our police an annual raise in excess of our revenue projections. Do you believe this is an issue? And if so, how would you manage cost escalation within our police department going forward?

Question 5: Coyotes

We live in a semi-rural environment and share our City with a number of other living beings- including coyotes. Coyotes can be a danger to domesticated animals, such as cats and dogs as well as human beings. What are your thoughts regarding our control and/or co-existence with these animals?

Question 6: Parklands Pledge

As part of the recent settlement, the City agreed to reaffirm the continuing legal validity of the Protective Parklands Restrictions that set aside parklands in perpetuity for the communal use and benefit of PVE residents for public recreation only. Would you pledge here tonight that you will support and enforce the Parklands Protective Deed Restrictions?

Question 7: Support for CC&Rs (& ADU issue)

What will you do to support, protect and enforce the City’s Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions (most commonly known as CC&Rs) in the face of growing challenges from outside entities such as the State of California, who may seek to restrict cities’ (not just Palos Verdes but all cities) authority to make local decisions regarding housing density, cell phone tower placements, etc? As an example of that, I know that the City Council is considering allowing ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) on 25% of lots and JADUs (Junior Accessory Dwelling Units) on all lots even though the CCRs forbid it. What is your position on ADUs/JADUs and why? 

Question 8: Government Culture & Transparency

This has to do with city government culture and transparency. If you look at the City website, there is an org chart there that has the Residents on top, the council below, and the city manager at the base. Do you feel this is how the City is currently managed, and are there any changes you would advocate?

Question 9: Breakdown of Courtesy & Respect

During the past year, PVE has seen a breakdown of courtesy, decorum and respect during some council meetings. There are some officials and residents who feel that have been personally attacked and/or stated that they feel intimidated. Are there guidelines that apply or should apply to council member behavior regarding topic, tone and content of speeches? If there are, do you favor consistent application of those guidelines, and what other actions are you willing to take to address this issue?

Question 10: Malaga Cove Development 

Subject of this one is Malaga Cove. The question is how do we improve parking and also the diversity of businesses to increase both revenue and enhance enjoyment? This refers to the Plaza area. 

Question 11: Butcher Hill Development Plan

Butcher Hill, adjacent to Palos Verdes Estates, has a plan submitted to Torrance that greatly affects PVE residents with traffic, diminished home values, etc. What are your thoughts on this?

Question 12: Improving Concessions

Do you believe we should make our Golf, Tennis Club and Stables more profitable, and if so, how?

Closing Statements 

Thanks to all who came to the Forum on February 6th!

For videos of the first Candidate Forum hosted by the  League of Women Voters of Palos Verdes Peninsula and San Pedro and the Palos Verdes Chamber of Commerce on February 11th, click here.

For positioning statements and bios of each candidate — click here

For responses by each candidate to specific questions about recent issues that have been controversial — click here

To return to the main page on the election — click here