El Segundo

El Segundo is a small, secluded, intimate community close to everything, but separated by the Los Angeles International Airport and major industries, many of which are Fortune 500 companies. El Segundo is located on the coast just south of LAX and has the big city amenities, but retains its small town atmosphere. The quaint city center has a library, a seniors’ center, a swimming pool, a driving range, a golf course and a half dozen parks. The city’s recreational department offers many community activities for all ages year-round. Downtown Los Angeles is about 20 miles away.

El Segundo started out as an empty piece of land with a stand of willow trees on it. It was part of a mass of land of nearly 25,000 acres which extended from the areas as far west of what is now Playa del Rey, as far east as Inglewood, and as far south as Redondo Beach. The land consisted of wheat and barley fields on which cattle and sheep grazed. It was part of the then “Rancho Sausal Redondo”. In May of 1911, a group of men representing Standard Oil Company arrived looking for a potential site for a new refinery. They specifically were looking for land adjacent to the seashore so their tankers could have appropriate access. The liked the undeveloped nature of the site and they were also tying to keep costs to a minimum.

Standard Oil bought 840 acres of the land  and opened the new refinery just 6 months later.

On January 18, 1917, the City of El Segundo was incorporated. The city remained a one industry town until the 1920s, when Mines Field, a landing strip was chosen as the site for the new Los Angeles Municipal Airport. During the 1950s, Southern California Edison purchased a 43 acre site for a major electrical generating station.

The theme restaurant and control tower at Los ...

The theme restaurant and control tower at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Los Angeles International Airport opened in 1930, and this had a major role in El Segundo becoming an aerospace center. Douglas Aircraft, Northrop, North American Aviation, Hughes Aircraft and Rockwell all located in El Segundo during the 40s, and 50s. Most of these aircraft-related companies would eventually transition into the aerospace/defense industry. In 1960, the creation of The Aerospace Corporation and Los Angeles Air Force Base gave El Segundo the esteemed title of “The Aerospace Capital of the World.” Today, the city encompasses over five square miles, spanning from the Los Angeles International Airport on the north, to the Chevron Refinery on the south, to the Pacific Ocean on the west and Aviation Boulevard on the east. The name “El Segundo” came about because this was Standard Oil Company’s second refinery on the West Coast. Today, many large aerospace companies have facilities in El Segundo, including Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin  and Northrop Grumman. Toy manufacturer Mattel also has its headquarters in El Segundo. The citizens of El Segundo like to say that their town is “second to none.”

El Segundo has its own school district where scores generally run from the 80th to 90th percentile, and is considered one of the state’s outstanding school districts. The city operates its own K-12 schools and has close by El Camino Community College, University of Southern California, Loyola Marymount and U.C.L.A.

About 25 percent of the town’s housing was built before 1950. About 40 percent was built between 1950 and 1970 and the rest over the last 30 years. The great majority of the single homes have two and three bedrooms, and are located in beautiful tree lined streets that are quiet and peaceful. About two-dozen homes are positioned along the beach bluffs facing west and command ocean views. The rest of the town is built along gently sloping land away from the beach. You can find many single family homes located in traditional all American neighborhoods, duplexes, cottages, condos and town homes and apartment complexes in El Segundo.

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Lowball appraisals can kill deals. There are ways to keep your home’s look, feel and condition as updated and cared for as possible. When an appraisal of your property is scheduled, don’t wait until the last minute to get everything in order for the appraiser. Here are some important tips to help you and the appraiser be able to come in with the highest appraisal on the property.

  1.   Spruce up the house. Most appraisers will tell you that you don’t need to deep clean under the couches and that a few dirty dishes wont hurt your home’s value. But cleaning up the place is your responsibility and your duty too. Rats, mice, cockroaches and the broken down car you have been trying to overhaul might. Overgrown lawns and plants, soiled and dirty carpeting, marks on the walls all do affect value and are part of the property’s overall condition rating.
  2.  Curb appeal matters too. The lawns , front and back should be green and mowed. Get rid of the weeds in the planters and trim hedges and overgrown trees and shrubs. Lenders are looking at the conditions of properties more than ever. Dont forget the appraiser is going to photograph your property and also the comps in the neighborhood that he decides to use. You want your property to look it’s very best.
  3.  Make a list of all improvements and updates you have made. Also, make a sketch plan of your house indicating the square footage, for the appraiser. The list of updates should cover the past 15 years. Itemize each update or improvement with the approximate date and approximate cost. Highlight any notable features of the property. Make sure the appraiser is aware of any improvement that has been done like a new roof or insulation, etc. Don’t forget the little items. Sinks, water heaters, tub sealing, etc.
  4. Have some reasonable comps on hand for the appraiser. This is his job, but if you have updated comps it save him time. If a property has recently sold in the neighborhood without the help of a real estate agent, it may not have been on the MLS listings and the appraiser may never know about it, or will get the info too late to use.
  5. Take care of any peeling paint. Loans insured by the government agencies like the Federal Housing Administration, or the VA, will require peeling paint to be removed in houses built before 1978.
  6.  Focus, Focus, Focus. Don’t spend money that wont yield a return on the investment. The best expenditures for most markets are paint, carpet, electric and plumbing fixtures. If you are a homeowner who has always upgraded and fixed items as they broke, you will be fine.
  7. Location still matters. If there has been some good changes in the neighborhood, let the appraiser know it. Maybe a new playground has gone in, or a new Whole Foods Market or?If the area has been declared a historic or landmark district, let the appraiser know it.
  8. Appraisers often value houses in $500 increments, so if there is a repair costing more than $500 that can or should be made, it will count against the property. Fix leaky faucets, any busted screens, cracked windows, missing handrails and any structural damage.
  9.  Remember the concept of “effective age,” the age the appraiser can assign to the home after taking into consideration all updating and the condition. Lets say you have a cracked window, worn carpeting, tiles falling off in the shower stall, vinyl torn in the laundry room and the dog ate the corner of the fireplace hearth. These items could still add up to an overall average condition rating as the home is still habitable. However, your effective age will be higher, resulting in com parables being utilized which will have the same effective age and resulting lower value.
  10. Lock up Fido. Appraisers get annoyed by homeowners following them around during the appraisal process, and more annoyed by a growling dog. Along the same lines, make the appraiser comfortable as possible. If it is hot outside, turn on the A/C. If it is cold outside, turn on the heater.  It is good to turn both on anyway so he knows they both work.

    Let the appraiser do his job. Don’t ask questions or bother the appraiser with jibber jabber. He might miss something that would help make the appraisal better. Save your comments and questions until after the appraiser is finished.



FHA mortgages are back. An FHA mortgage loan is insured by the Federal Housing Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Borrowers who have FHA mortgage loans pay for mortgage insurance, which protects the lender from a loss if the borrower defaults on the loan. Because of this mortgage insurance, lenders offer FHA mortgage loans at very attractive interest rates and are less stringent and much more flexible about qualifications and other requirements.

As of September 2010, minimum credit scores for FHA mortgage loans depend on the type of loan the borrower needs, according to the FHA, but scores should be 580 or better. Borrowers with credit scores between 500 and 579 are limited to borrowing 90 % loan to value.
The FHA requires a down payment of just 3.5% of the purchase price of the home.

The FHA will allow home sellers, builders and lenders to pay for some of the borrowers closing costs, such as an appraisal, credit report, title expenses, etc.


United States Department of Housing and Urban ...

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The FHA is an insurance fund, not a lender, so borrowers need to get their mortgage loan through an FHA approved lender, and not directly from the FHA.   Not all FHA approved lenders offer the same interest rate and costs, even on the same mortgage loan.

There are two mortgage insurance premiums required on all FHA mortgage loans. The upfront premium is 1.75% of the loan amount and is paid when the borrower gets the loan. This portion can be financed as part of the loan amount. The second premium is an annual premium, which varies based on the length of the mortgage loan, the amount borrowed and the initial loan to value ratio (LTV).

The FHA has special mortgage loan products for borrowers who will need extra cash to make necessary repairs to their homes. Talk to an FHA lender of this.

Mortgage loan servicers can offer some relief to borrowers who have an FHA mortgage loan, have suffered a serious financial hardship and are struggling to make their payments.

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Hawthorne Birthplace to Surfin’ USA

It was the early 1960s and Brian Wilson wrote a tune for his music class at Hawthorne High School His teacher did not think highly of it as he gave Wilson a D. Later that song, “Surfin’ USA” would sell millions of albums.

The Wilson brothers grew up on the border of Hawthorne and Inglewood. Near Hawthorne Airport off 120th and Kornblum Ave. Today, the Wilson home would be where the 105 freeway runs through town. But back in the early 60’s the area was awakened late at night by the Beach Boys practicing in their garage.

The band was made up of the three Wilson brothers. Brian, Carl and Dennis. Dennis funny enough was the only one who surfed. Mike Love and youngster David Marks were the other members. However Marks was later replaced with Hawthorne High School footballer Al Jardine  because of a disagreement with his father and the Wilson’s father. They lived within a few homes of each other.

The bands harmonies were unmistakable however very much influenced by the popular Four Freshmen.

Today all that is left of the homes as depicted in the video above is a monument to the Beach Boy’s humble beginnings.

1962, California, USA --- L-R: Dennis Wilson, David Marks, Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Carl Wilson. --- Image by © Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis

1962, California, USA — L-R: Dennis Wilson, David Marks, Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Carl Wilson. — Image by ¬© Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis


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El Segundo’s Past Where Towers Now Stand

Patmar's drive In

Norman C. Marsh did not count on creating a motel/drive-in on the corner of what is today Imperial and Sepulveda. Marsh was a successful local musician and later would work with partner Howard Patrick booking local talent. Later the two decided to try opening a drive-in restaurant in 1939. They called it Patmar’s from a play on their two names.

One year later they added a 14-unit motel on the hill directly behind the restaurant.

Longtime resident Lora Bell told the El Segundo Herald in 1989, “It was the place to go back then. It’s where all the kids hung out and it was the last stop to get something to eat on your way home.”

The round building was purchased to be used for the  clubhouse for the  The Lakes at El Segundo. But there was way too many problems with the structure after years or ware and tear.

The El Segundo skyline, as seen from Sepulveda...

The El Segundo skyline, as seen from Sepulveda Boulevard (CA/SR-1) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Hermosa Beach to Build Dream Park

A decade ago  Hermosa Beach parents started a grass-roots movement to improve South Park. Finally the park has begun a new transformation.The $750,000 renewal will take until August for a fully accessable – universal/wheelchair recreational area.

Besides just the typical swing sets, the park will include a community garden, built alongside the larger adult community garden,wired skeleton structures of homes will give kids the chance to imagine a fort, a teepee, a tent, even a cave, toward the top of the hill. A slide built into the side of the hill will give the kids a chance to ride down the hill from top to bottom. And natural elements will dot the entire park.

Some of the elements were designed by the children as part of a  Design Your Dream Playground contest  with View and Valley schoolchildren.

English: Hermosa Beach in the winter on Januar...

English: Hermosa Beach in the winter on January 15, 2007 Photographed and uploaded by user Strategy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Torrance Water Conservation

Caliofornia’s Governor Brown recently mandated a state wide water savings order and has even recently  called for $10,000 fines   for residents and businesses that waste the most water during the drought.

The city of Torrance has been proactive and  as early as 2009 created the  Water Conservation and Water Supply Shortage Ordinance (Ordinance 3717) that permanently sets restrictions on certain wasteful water uses is in effect.  Current baseline restrictions include:

  • No landscape watering between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  • Limiting individual irrigation station run times to no more than 15 minutes
  • No excessive water flows or runoff from landscape irrigation
  • No washing down of driveways, sidewalks or other exterior surfaces except for safety or sanitary reasons
  • Repairing known water leaks within 15 days
  • Using only hoses with a positive shut-off valve attachment in landscape watering, wash-downs or in washing vehicles
  • Using only decorative fountains and other water features that use recirculation systems

The city suggests the following conservation tips:

Southern California is a desert, which means we must import water from far away sources like Northern California and the Colorado River. And, as many of us know, the West can count on the occasional dry spell or even drought.

That makes every drop of water precious. We all must do our part to use water wisely.

* Consider native and drought-tolerant plants and grasses when making landscape choices and adjust watering to take advantage of the less-thirsty plants.
* Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants. Chunks of bark, peat moss or gravel slow evaporation.
* Check for and repair faucet leaks. A dripping faucet can waste several gallons of water each day – about 140 gallons a month.
* Install low-flow faucet aerators on all faucets. Some aerators can restrict flow to less than a gallon per minute.
* Retrofit or replace fixtures to new, water efficient models

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Earth Day in Torrance

Earth Day recycling

While there check out the Toyota Museum





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Earth Day Recycling

City of Torrance Earth Day Recycling Event

  In celebration of Earth Day, the City of Torrance will once again host a drop-off recycling event for electronics, clothing and shoes, used oil and filters, and confidential papers that need to be shredded. Proceeds from the recycling event will benefit the Torrance Unified School District.

This is a drive-through drop-off event, so you won’t even need to get out of your vehicle!
Here are the details . . .

When: Saturday, April 25, 2015

Where: Toyota Employee Parking Lot J, located off of Toyota Way (south of the intersection of 190th and Van Ness)

Time: 8:00 AM – Noon
Accepted items include:

  • Used oil (with no contaminants)
  •  Oil filters, which will be exchanged for a $5 coupon to O’Reilly Auto Parts Stores (limit two coupons per person, while supplies last)
  •  Paper for shredding (limit of eight boxes or bags per vehicle) – confidential documents only; NO books, three-ring binders, large clips, or magazines
  •  Electronics – anything with a plug or computer circuits, such as TVs, computers, tablets, printers, and cell phones
  •  Shoes in any condition and clothing in wearable condition

    Please, NO batteries, fluorescent bulbs or tubes, or other hazardous waste.

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Special Olympics Comes to South Bay

After being overseas for the last 16 years, the Special Olympics 2015 World Summer Games will be coming to Los Angeles this summer and three Southbay cities will be playing a crucial part in the upcoming historic event.

Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach have signed on as “Host Towns” to welcome the special athletes from seven different countries during a three day acclimation period that will lead up to the July 25th opening ceremonies.

The athletes will get some time to recover from jet lag and adjust to American culture.
The three   beach cities will join 82 other Southern California communities ranging from San Diego to San Luis Obispo in playing host to the athletes July 21-24. Each city is assigned special athletes from various countries. Manhattan Beach will host coaches and athletes from Hungary and Nepal.

Hermosa Beach will host Belgium and Belize, and Redondo Beach will host delegations from Benin, Haiti and Suriname.

The delegates from Hungary and Nepal will be staying at the Manhattan Beach Marriot Hotel. They will participate in a downtown shopping excursion, have a beach picnic and enjoying a spaghetti dinner sponsored by the Manhattan Beach Fire Dept. They will also participate in a torch relay race and attend a community dinner.

The delegates from Belgium and Belize will enjoy a planned dinner, a group bicycle riding adventure, several games of beach volleyball, a day at the beach and do some shopping in downtown Hermosa Beach.

In Redondo Beach, the Benin, Haiti and Suriname delegates will stay at the Palos Verdes Inn, have lunch and do some shopping at the Galleria Mall. They will have a beach day of fishing, experience some whale watching, bicycle riding and sand castle building, a parade on the pier, a party at Sea Side Lagoon and a send off pep rally featuring mayors and dignitaries from all three beach cities on the morning of July 24th.

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