On March 5 Redondo Beach voters are going have to just say \u201cno.\u201d The only question is whether they\u2019ll say \u201cno\u201d to a plan by AES to replace its aged power plant in the community or \u201cno\u201d to the sponsors of a measure opponents claim is \u201can assault on private property rights.\u201d After a noisy and high-pitched campaign replete with mailers, YouTube videos, fundraisers, and community forums, voters in the city\u2019s municipal election next Tuesday have to decide the fate of Measure A. It would rezone the site of the existing AES power plant to prevent construction of a new plant there. In its place, the measure would rezone the 50-acre site along the community\u2019s waterfront to designate 60 to 70 percent of the area for parks and open space and 30 to 40 percent for future commercial, institutional, and boatyard uses. Measure A also would require AES to shut down its existing plant by the end of 2020 and remove it by the end of 2022. City attorney Mike Webb notes that even if voters pass the measure, AES still would be able to build its new power plant at the site if the California Energy Commission determines it\u2019s needed in that location to support the grid and that no other alternatives are available. AES Southland president Eric Pendergraft said his company is reviewing its legal position in the event the measure passes. He also emphasized that the CEC ultimately could override the measure, noting the state agency has overridden local land-use bans on power plant projects in the past. The measure has split the local city council. The current mayor Mike Gin is in opposition while councilmember Bill Brand is a proponent. Gin maintains that passing the measure essentially would circumvent the normal zoning process--which includes hearings and environmental studies. He argues it would have negative consequences for the city, including creating traffic and park maintenance costs without any source of funding. He says it\u2019s better for the city to work with AES toward improving its waterfront. \u201cMeasure A pits the property owner against our community,\u201d according to Gin. Pendergraft said the new plant would occupy less land than the existing facility and that AES already is discussing options for using the freed up land with the community. Ideas advanced so far include a conference center and golf course complex and a university, he said. Brand dismisses such a possibility, however. It\u2019s time to get rid of \u201cthe hulking industrial behemoth that has marred the South Bay waterfront for over 50 years,\u201d he says. The measure\u2019s proponents claim that since the plant was built, the community has changed with increasing construction of nearby residences and businesses in which people are exposed to emissions and noise from the plant. \u201cThat subsequent development makes the site unsuitable for building a new plant,\u201d they argue. The election comes as the state energy agencies grapple with how to assure grid reliability in Southern California, which has limited transmission lines for importing power from outside the region. Local generation is needed, according to the California Independent System Operator, particularly as today\u2019s coastal plants likely close under a state mandate to end use of ocean water for cooling. The prospect that San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station may not reopen compounds the urgency of building new local generation capacity (Current, Feb. 8, 2012). The California Public Utilities Commission also is calling for energy efficiency and demand response to meet the region\u2019s needs (Current, Feb. 15, 2012). AES\u2019s proposal to replace its old ocean water-cooled steam boiler plant with a new 496 MW natural-gas fired, combined-cycle, air-cooled electrical generating facility is wending its way through the Energy Commission\u2019s construction licensing process. The new plant would make 35 percent more power than the present one, using the same amount of natural gas, according to Pendergraft.