HERMOSA BEACH : Council OKs Installation of Nativity Scene in Park


The City Council agreed to allow a Nativity scene to be displayed in a city park.

The city owns a portion of a Nativity scene that has been in a city storage facility for years. Resident Karen Johnson requested that Hermosa Beach residents be allowed to install the scene in Greenwood Park at Aviation Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway.

The council voted 3 to 2 to allow the installation. Mayor Robert (Burgie) Benz and Councilman John Bowler opposed the idea.

“I think Nativity scenes are lovely,” Bowler said, “but the question is whether the city should be in the position of sponsoring one particular religion. I just think it opens up an unnecessary debate.”


The council recently killed a plan to begin each council meeting with a prayer. Councilwoman Julie A. Oakes, who opposed the prayer, said a Nativity scene is a separate issue.

“I welcome the Nativity scene,” she said. “Christianity is the majority religion in this country. If they want a menorah, that’s great too.”

City Manager Stephen Burrell said the reason the city has not displayed the scene in recent years has more to do with budget constraints than constitutional issues.