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Manhattan Beach Makes Bid to End Public Barbecuing

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Hold on to your charcoal briquettes — if the new president of the Manhattan Beach Community Group has his way, the public will no longer be able to fire up the barbeque when they visit the seaside jewel tucked off of Oriental Boulevard in the summertime. “I’ve waited three years to do this,” Ron Biondo told fellow Manhattan Beach Community Group members at P.S. 195 last week. Addressing his first meeting since succeeding outgoing president Marilyn Chernin last year, Biondo laid out what he called an “aggressive agenda” for the betterment of Manhattan Beach. Topping the list was the sought-after ban on barbecuing at the beach. “We’re going to do everything we can to stop barbecuing,” Biondo declared. The Parks Department presently allows barbecuing at a number of designated areas around Manhattan Beach which many of the thousands of visitors to the beach utilize each summer. Critics like Biondo, however, have long maintained that public barbecuing inside Manhattan Beach generates trash and debris, in addition to polluting the air for the surrounding community. But not everyone in Manhattan Beach is behind the proposed barbecuing ban. Longtime Manhattan Beach Community Group and Community Board 15 member Ed Eisenberg vehemently denounced the plan to outlaw barbecuing, warning that any move to ban the popular practice would first have to gain the support of the community board. “I think it’s racially motivated,” Eisenberg said. “Why don’t they stop barbecuing in their own backyards?” Eisenberg lost his spot on Manhattan Beach Community Group’s executive board last year. Biondo rejected Eisenberg’s charge explaining that his group had already voted against barbecuing inside Manhattan Beach after receiving numerous complaints. “I don’t know how you can make such a suggestion,” said Biondo. “I have no idea who’s barbecuing at the beach.” While barbecuing on park land may not represent a significant threat to air quality in other parts of the city, Biondo said that it was a problem at Manhattan Beach because of the close proximity to residential housing. In addition to his bid to prevent barbecuing inside Manhattan Beach, Biondo also spelled out his plan to end what he called the “year-round” problem of loitering along Shore Boulevard. “We have to be diligent about this,” said Biondo. Before assuming the presidency of the Manhattan Beach Community Group, Biondo was a part of the Quality of Life Committee along with Al Smaldone. Together the two waged an ongoing campaign to rid Manhattan Beach of ugly graffiti. Now as president Biondo wants to continue those grime-busting efforts by doing everything from “beautifying” Manhattan Beach’s dead-end blocks to power washing dried gum off the sidewalks. “We shouldn’t have grit in the community,” Biondo said. To realize his vision for Manhattan Beach, Biondo is encouraging the use of open face security gates to cut down on graffiti and the establishment of a local Business Improvement District. Though short, Biondo said that he wants to make West End Avenue’s commercial strip a “swanky” place complete with new mailboxes and decorative blue and white traffic signs distinctive to Manhattan Beach. To pay for supplemental trash collection and landscaping around the neighborhood, Biondo suggested raising dues to the Manhattan Beach Community Group as soon as the organization’s bylaws allow. To keep tabs on the goings-on in Manhattan Beach, Biondo proposed the formation of a new Public Safety Committee in which Kingsborough Community College would be an active member. Sanitation Department rep Andrew Pugliese praised Biondo in accepting special citations from Assemblymember Steve Cymbrowitz, City Councilmember Mike Nelson, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and the Manhattan Beach Community Group. “Ron is probably the most committed resident I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I wished he lived in Long Island by me.”

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