Even with 1,600 ballots still to be counted in Redondo Beach, neither proponents or opponents of Measure A believe the number is sufficient to change the election's outcome.

The measure, which would have rezoned the AES power plant site on Harbor Drive, failed Tuesday with 51.7 percent of ballots cast against the rezoning. The margin of defeat was just 383 votes.

But overcoming that margin would require a much higher percentage of no votes among the outstanding ballots than seen thus far.

"I don't think the provisional ballots are going to change anything," said Jim Light, one of the measure's authors and a City Council candidate in District 1, where he secured a spot in the May runoff election.

"Seeing the (vote) percentages in the different precincts, I don't see it changing the final outcome," he added.

Only voters in District 2 - the council district where the AES power plant sits - overwhelmingly voted in favor of essentially rezoning the power plant out of existence once its permit to operate expires in 2020.

The California Energy Commission will make the final decision on whether to approve rebuilding the plant, but rarely overrides local land use directives.

AES Southland President Eric Pendergraft conceded it was "highly improbable" the election result would change, but stopped short of declaring victory ahead of Monday's count.


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Indeed, Lisa Rodriguez, spokeswoman for Redondo Beach United for a No Vote on Measure A, said AES should not see the likely outcome of the vote as a victory.

"It's not a win for AES, I can't emphasize that enough," she said. "It's a step to say now we can work on a viable solution. ... We're divided, there's a lot of work to do."

Rodriguez has said she organized the group not because she believes the power plant should be rebuilt, but because she wants city officials involved in the debate over what should be done. City leaders have said they could not negotiate with AES over the power plant if the measure passed.

Indeed, Light said there's little alternative but to pin hopes on the outcome of those negotiations now.

"They said there's another way, they promised that to the people, and now they have to deliver," he said.

However, Light believes the vote will give AES the ammunition it needs to win approval for a new plant from the state.

"I just don't see that the city did enough effort up front to put anything in front of the CEC to get them to deny the project," he said. "There has to be a substantive problem with zoning or zoning regulations. ... Those who thought there's another plan to stopping the power plant are going to be disappointed."

While Pendergraft was confident Wednesday that AES would win the needed state approval if the vote holds, there's no guarantee the company will move forward with rebuilding the plant if another alternative offers a better return on investment.

"We're confident that we'll be able to meet all the requirements of the CEC and ultimately retain a permit," he said. "But at the end of the day it may not be needed and we are certainly willing to consider other alternatives to the site that are of equivalent economic value or even higher."

nick.green@dailybreeze.com

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