Sunday, June 17, 2007

Manhattan Beach Wants to Go Private!

[Photo courtesy of Incandenza/flickr]

The headline that our friends at put up caught our attention: "Manhattan Beach and Their Bunker Mentality." Why, you might ask? Because Dr. Ron Biondo, President of the Manhattan Beach Community Group, is holding a emergency meeting on Thursday, June 21 @ 8:00 PM, in response to "graffiti, litter and other destruction." (There apparently was some sort of issue with teenagers coming into Manhattan Beach and much dispute about what happened or didn't.)

So, what's the answer? Some clean up crews? Getting the Parks Department to do a better job? Nope. As it turns out, there is some sentiment in the community to privatize the beach, put police on the bridge leading to Manhattan Beach to check IDs and close the beach "on a moments notice" when "the thugs" arrive. (Manhattan Beach's beach is a public one run by the Parks Department.)

"The thugs"?

We almost thought we were seeing things when we stopped skimming and actually read the notice. Now, these are all called "ideas" that are "in play," but we've got say this is the most, shall we say, fascinating group of suggestions we've seen in a long time. In case you've never been, Manhattan Beach is an affluent community on the Brooklyn shoreline next to Brighton Beach and across the water from Sheepshead Bay. In any case, here are the ideas that are "in play":
1) Privatize the beach
2) Charge an admission
3) Close the beach on a moments notice once the thugs, oops I mean people start to arrive
4) Have NYPD barricades along Oriental Blvd to remove them from the neighborhood and prevent them from strolling down the side streets
5) Surveillance cameras
6) Arrest them for truancy
7) Set up one entrance to the beach and have metal detectors.
8) Have NYPD @ both sides of the bridge checking ID’s.


In addition to the shooting there was graffiti, litter and other destruction as well.

PLEASE REACH OUT TO EVERYONE IN MB TO COME DOWN. I think this is one issue that unites us all.
There's been some very strong reaction on the Sheepshead Bay/Plumb Beach Civic Association discussion forum, most of it strongly condemning the "ideas." For instance:
Metal detectors at entrances to the beach?!?!? Why stop there? Let's set up gun turrets and a razor wire fence at every entrance and turn Manhattan Beach into a bunker! There's a little something called fundamental rights in this country, and if it were up to the good doctor, we'd trample all over them for a safe, litter/graffiti free world....

Folks, Newsflash! MANHATTAN BEACH IS NOT A DANGEROUS NEIGHBORHOOD!...Checking IDs on the footbridge? And beyond that... uh... what?!?!? What purpose does checking IDs at the footbridge serve? Want to know where people are coming from? That's a slippery slope down a dark road. And honestly, what business is it of yours where I come from, Dr. Biondo? None, I say.
Wow. We're betting this is a bunch of "ideas" that are going to reverberate.



Blogger Gene Berardelli, Esq. said...

I should add that I have spoken to many residents of Manhattan Beach who are both appalled and totally against what Dr. Biondo has written, so let's not paint the whole community with the same brush.

I for one hope the meeting is cancelled, but if it isn't, I would urge all to attend and be vocal against these "ideas"

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Metal detectors at entrances to the beach?!?!? Why stop there? Let's set up gun turrets and a razor wire fence at every entrance and turn Manhattan Beach into a bunker! There's a little something called fundamental rights in this country, and if it were up to the good doctor, we'd trample all over them for a safe, litter/graffiti free world...."
Talk about exaggerating... This is pathetic and childish. The author of those comments should be ashamed to have them read by the public. A suggestion to keep everyone on the beach safe does not violate fundamental rights. I presume that he would also suggest doing away with airport security and any other security checkpoints in the country. Does that person even live in Manhattan Beach or visit the beach? or does he just have nothing better to do with his life?

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Those who would give up essential liberty for some temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety"

Hey Anonymous, have the guts of using your name when saying someone "has no life" And then while you're at it, take a look at what you're comparing - matters of security to teenagers littering and/or fighting on a beach! Oh yeah, both deserve the SAME solution.

1:52 AM  
Blogger JakeGould said...

Hasn't this mentality been bred in no short part by the slow destruction—and privatization of the Eslpanade over the past decade or so? When that happened, a part of me died because it was an ignored but wonderful part of the neighborhood that can never be replaced.

5:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do I not have the 'liberty' to remain anonymous? You have proven yourselves to be a group that has nothing better to do than to meddle in other group affairs, I sure don't need to see you or those like you on my doorstep.
Perhaps you are the bigots to believe that residents of Manhattan Beach and visitors to the beach do not deserve the safety and protection any citizen should be entitled to.
Perhaps we should disband our police force and allow everyone to excersice their 'liberties' however they choose.
Perhaps there is no need for Homeland security simply because four planes were hijacked and used as missiles on 9/11.
Perhaps you should find another country to live in if you don't believe in law & order.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spoken like a true Communist - law and order over personal freedom!

Didn't Stalin try that? I wonder how that went!

"I sure don't need to see you or those like you on my doorstep."

Spoken like a true elitist.

Didn't another Manhattan Beach resident - Austin Corbin - have similar thinking about people outside of Manhattan Beach?

And comparing matters of national security to teenagers fighting on a beach is not only a irrational stretch of facts, but dangerous thinking that would have us living in the shadow of the Iron Curtain.

Excellent work, Comrade.

As far as any group meddling - once you talk about privatizing a PUBLIC park, that becomes an issue for EVERY CITIZEN IN NEW YORK CITY - not just your little neighborhood. Shocking, isn't it? One groups actions have ramifications on others! What a concept!

Go on, get that last word like you want to, I'm through arguing with witless wonders such as yourself.

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm sorry "Mr R.J." - i didn't catch your full name. I would love to invite myself over with some friends, i'm sure you wouldnt mind - you're not elitist are you? and if we ripped up your yard and broke a couple of things, i'm sure you wouldnt care, after all, we are 'free' to do as we please. law and order is only for communists, remember? and after all, trashing your place wouldnt be on the same level as national security, so it wouldnt really matter much, would it?

4:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

--Bottom line-- Manhattan beach should not even be considered to be privatized because 1: its PUBLIC so who gave whoeverthismanis the power to even bring up such an idea; its rediculous. 2: SUPRISE newyorkers tend to litter! get over it...if anything there should be people whos job is to clean the beach in the first place...and if it gets that bad pass out a summons cops. 3: graffiti is not new, again sounds like a job for the NYPD. Lastly, I would like 2 get a good description of these so-called 'thugs'...because i was just at Manhattan beach yesterday and the last time i checked, a thug was: A cruel or vicious, ruffian, or murderer. Gee guess I missed the hour when these type of characters were running rampant in broad daylight at the PUBLIC beach in front of everyone. It sounds to me like a certian group is feeling as though they deserve all the more perks when it comes to living "beachside"'s a hint: it isn't the "thugs"!

3:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like were moving towards another civil rights movement. I didn't kno a group of people have the right to decide what happens to a piece of Public property, show me the ammendment in the us constitution. U cant say 'hey. that beach is for me and my friends alone. no one else allowed' It is understandable where the neighborhood people are coming from but they live in NEW YORK CITY, not MALIBU, BUT BROOKLYN NEW YORK. what do u expect? If manhattan beach gets privatized, then the park across the street from everyone gets privatized and we all can have gaurd dogs police and charge admission. Its only fair right? Equal rights for all man.i thought we fixed dis issue of segregation 50 years ago wit da civil rights movement. Guess we are seperate but equal. If so then the fire hydrant in front my house can only be used when my house is on fire, not those around me. PRIVATIZE DA HYDRANTS TOO!!!

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all those who think beaches and public areas cannot be privatized, take as a case the Manhattan Beach boardwalk. Back in the good old days, you could walk all the way from Coney Island to Manhattan beach along the boardwalk.

Well, apparently if you have enough political capital and dislike for "common people", which some Manhattan Beach residents do, you can close off the boardwalk. Which is exactly what happened in the 1990s. You can no longer walk into Manhattan beach, that entire section of the boardwalk was closed off, creating a nice private backyard for some beach front homes (and less access for poor people walking into Manhattan beach.) So does anyone find it surprising that certain Manhattan beach residents want to take the privatization further?

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the incidents that sparked the controvercial quote were two separate brawls that the NYPD reported, ended with injuries and arrests. i agree with privatizing the beach. maybe some of the proposed ideas take it too far, but if a-holes come to a quiet beach looking for nothing but trouble, than i have to respect that community's wish to protect themselves, even if it means i will have to start paying to use the beach. it's still not a raw deal for visitors. it's a shame that these punks almost ruined it for everyone else. i still think the criminals should be held accountable, and not some doctor for making a remark that seemingly got taken way out of context.

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Privatizing a beach is OK for Kiddie beach in Gerritsen Beach and charge well over $200 per year and you must be a member of Gerritsen beach's "private community" but not OK for Manhattan beach? Yes some of the measures suggested are extreme but it's not much different than Kiddie beach.

7:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Manhattan Beach HAS surveillanc e cameras. You just have not noticed them. Frankly, I am all for more security at our beach. There are plenty of other beaches to go to for those who cannot afford to reside here, and those of us who CAN afford it don't need the aggravation of those who think that trespassing across OUR property to get to the beach is THEIR right.

7:51 PM  

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