by Tonya McKenzie
It feels like Redondo Beach, the city that I live in, has been going through years of turmoil in our local government. I cannot actually recall a time when all of the city officials and organizations worked in harmony or even cordially together. There is constant one-upmanship, city officials attacking local organizations, and scandal. It is strange that a city this small has such big problems. This is the first time in my life that I have witnessed the city not being in support or working with their Chamber of Commerce. The Redondo Beach city majority actually works against the Chamber and shows at every turn that they are not business friendly. It is the strangest functioning dynamic that I have ever witnessed. Knowing that this is the case, you can point to the top of the pyramid to find the catalyst for the trauma and drama.
In November 2022, it was revealed by the LA Times that the Mayor and his friends have been circulating racist and misogynistic emails among each other, obviously believing that nobody else would be reading them. When confronted about these comments, it was justified by calling them cherry-picked or said in jest. However, it does not negate the fact that what was said, emailed, and laughed about was wrong. Never really owning up to the damage that these types of actions cause in a small city like this, it continues. You can read more for yourself in the article: Crude emails reveal nasty side of a California beach city’s crusade to halt growth
I have been sounding the alarm about much of this for a couple of years now. CONTEMPORARY RACISM REARS IT’S UGLY HEAD was published in April 2020 and SEXISM & DIVISION TAKE THE LEAD IN REDONDO BEACH was published in July 2022. Still, nothing has stopped what feels like a runaway train to discreetly disseminate fear and otherism in this city to stall growth and diversity of thought, businesses, development, and people.
The mayor and his supporters are very well organized. It takes a lot of willing individuals with a common goal to do all of the stalking, harassing, and attempted intimidation that goes on in Redondo Beach. There are multiple anonymous Facebook pages that post memed pictures of residents and other officials that are not in their fold. Trying to understand how all of these groups and nonprofits that they are raising money from are tied together has been mind-numbing. However, it all made sense once a resident that has picked up on all of this spoke at the attempted upseating of Councilman Christian Horvath. She made it make sense.
To Mayor Brand and your, “three other Council Members that share my policies,” if you wanted to ram something through while most residents aren’t looking, scheduling a meeting on the Tuesday after a holiday weekend, starting hours before the normal start time, would be a way to try.
This meeting is a sham, and it’s the equivalent of a middle school child who passes gas and then finds a victim to blame. Look at Christian! Don’t pay attention to MY stink!
Don’t pay attention to the way Zein Obagi and Nils Nehrenheim appear to have moved into Redondo Beach just to flip two districts to give the mayor a majority. Obagi was donating to Brand long before he moved to town, and not long after he moved here, he was the ONLY individual to contribute to the failed campaign to recall his predecessor. Why did a man who comes from a family so wealthy that their birthday celebrations are sometimes covered by Getty Images, move to a 3-on-a-lot in North Redondo? Don’t pay attention to Obagi, an attorney, already facing trial at the State Bar for seven charges of misconduct including intentional misappropriation of client funds, hit with five new charges related to apparently lying to a judge in his lawsuit against his malpractice attorney in the first case.
And then there’s Nils Nehrenheim, who rents a room in a house in Redondo Beach, but appears to still live in San Pedro and appears to still have his business headquartered in San Pedro, based on public record. Don’t pay attention to the fact that Nehrenheim is heading up the study on outsourcing our beloved Fire Department to L.A. County Fire, despite the fact that Nehrenheim is an employee of L.A. County Fire. And don’t pay attention to the fact that Rescue our Waterfront is NOT a watchdog agency – it’s a PAC – a Political Action Committee which has smeared political enemies online and has joined in suits against the city of Redondo Beach and all of us residents for hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Nehrenheim, was a co-founder of ROW PAC, and he continues to manage rescueourwaterfront.com and rescueourwaterfront.org domain name registrations.
Today is all about smoke and mirrors – trying to make a PAC look like a watchdog and get rid of an upstanding public servant for political advantage. And by the way, that PAC has improperly routed fundraising through charities – including Building a Better Redondo founded by Jim Light and South Bay Parkland Conservancy founded by the mayor and run by his friends and family. SBPC got Nehrenheim started in politics and SBPC offered to volunteer in Wilderness Park, but then sent the city invoices for so-called expenses in the form of invoices from companies owned by SBPC board members. These three organizations worked together to sue the city, with the help of a loan from the mayor, and yet the politicians who support the suing organizations sit in closed session to hear the city’s defense strategy.
Horvath did not create the stink.~Sondra Segall
For the third time, Candace Nafissi is running for City Council District 3. She has lost twice to Christian Horvath. It seems to many that her friends on city council currently tried to kick Christian off of the council to place her in his seat. It didn’t work. There was an incredible level of support of Councilman Horvath by his constituents and other city notables. Now, we get to see if a person that was on the nasty emails with the mayor and has been a part of the organized chaos in the city will finally win a seat on the council or not. It will be interesting to watch. Stay tuned.