Our 2008 year-end wrap-up concludes this week with a collection of memorable quotes from our Letters to the Editor page. Readers’ letters are grouped by topic. The date at the end of each excerpt is the date that the full letter ran in The Argonaut.

We hope you enjoy this new year-end format and hope to receive many more letters from you in 2009.

PROTECTING the ENVIRONMENT

“Now it seems the latest ’cause of all causes’ is to fight ‘Big Brother,” the evil-doers who have placed a protective fence around certain areas of the bluffs, in order to keep out a few of the local [Westchester] folks who appear to believe that because they’ve achieved access to private property in the past, that they should continue such access unimpeded into the future.”

Larry Gladstone, Westchester, January 3rd

“If Los Angelinos want to see fewer bags blowing in the wind, we need everyone on board. Most importantly, we need consumers who are empowered to opt not for paper over plastic, but for reusable.”

Yvonne B. Burke, Chair, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, January 31st

“Marina del Rey has a unique wildlife habitat within its own backyard. The wetlands need to be protected and spared from any future development. To lose this very special ecosystem would be a real shame.”

Gerald Steven Tlapa, Los Angeles, January 31st

“Now it is carob trees. Suddenly about half of them all over the city, hundreds, are a danger to the public. The trouble is that city employees responsible for caring for our trees have lost all credibility.”

Cosmo Bua, Santa Monica, May 8th

“These magnificent birds [great blue herons] are easily visible to the bikers and pedestrians through the chain-link fence. I’ve never ridden by without stopping to admire and appreciate their regal presence.”

Diana Spurlin, Venice, June 12th

“I’m deeply disturbed to find a growing number of birds in the park suffering and dying due to their feet becoming tangled and bound together by the fishing line, birthday ribbons, yarn and the like which is carelessly strewn around.”

Cheryl Anne Yuhasz, Santa Monica, August 7th

“Didn’t Santa Monica say the 23 ficus trees needed to be killed because of root damage to the sidewalks? Your pictures of the treeless sites show no sidewalk damage whatsoever.”

Susan Hartley, Santa Monica, June 5th

“I have been on these [Ballona Institute] tours and am always astounded by what I learn from Roy van de Hoek about how everything is linked to something else.” [Roy van de Hoek is the co-director of the Ballona Institute, a Playa del Rey based environmental organization.]

Wendy Rennert, Playa del Rey, August 14th

“In the last two or three years, since the houses were built [on the bluffs in Westchester], there have been no more doves on my patio. All I have left are photos and fond memories of the red foxes, blue herons, hawks, doves and beautiful wild flowers.”

Dale Neuman, Playa del Rey , August 21st

“I walk and run on the beach every day. I bring a bag with me and pick up trash every day. I don’t wait for a special day or an event to happen. Why do we still have this problem on our beaches?”

Blake Picket, Venice, September 4th

BIKE PATHS

“Tourists should be warned that the Ballona Creek Bicycle Path from Culver City to Marina del Rey is no place for a ‘pleasure’ bike ride. It’s very uninviting, like a ride through an industrial park.”

Gene Patrick, Los Angeles, April 24th

“I personally call out [to people walking in designated bike lanes] constantly as I pass by them to tell them to move to the correct path but it is like bailing a boat with a teaspoon.”

Eric Bass, Santa Monica, June 12th

“It should not be very hard for the county to establish a dedicated cycle track through the mess along Fiji Way. All it needs to do is devote a little more time and imagination to recreational developments rather than erecting monster new apartment blocks.”

Bruce Russell, Marina del Rey, August 21st

“The County of Los Angeles plans to widen Fiji Way between Admiralty Way and the terminus of Fiji Way to accommodate striped bike lanes in both directions. The installation of the bike lanes on Fiji Way will close the gap in the Marvin Braude Bike Trail.”

Dean D. Efstanthiou, Acting director of public works, County of Los Angeles, October 2nd

“Recently I rode from the Marina to the Santa Monica Pier and I want to commend the City of Los Angeles maintenance crew for keeping the bike path free of sand and debris.”

John K. McManamy, Venice, November 20th

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY (LMU)

“LMU’s parking shortage gets in the way of residents using parking in front of their homes. The parking is constantly full on my street. When one student pulls out, another takes his place within a minute.”

Leslie K. Rittenour, Westchester, June 12th

“With the increase of students, both full-time and part-time, we have noticed major changes in: the availability of residential street parking, the amount of off-campus student living, the frequency of raucous parties past 2 a.m. with reckless student behavior and total disregard for the homeowners and their properties.”

Kay Christy, Loyola Village, June 19th

“LMU voluntarily selects these kids and takes them on (receiving tuition funds from them). It is not the neighborhood’s job to help raise them, especially without being asked or compensated.”

Ann Wexler, Westchester, July 3rd

“These kids don’t think they’re doing anything wrong because they’re just having their 456 friends over for a drink before bed. Every night.”

Maya Mahue, Westchester, September 4th

“Is everyone so caught up in their own world, that they can’t look back to when they were in college? The community is getting their ‘panties in a twist’, if you don’t mind me saying.”

Allison Sharp, Westchester, September 11th

“Some of us have to get up in the morning and go to work. Others have small children who can’t sleep. You want understanding shown to LMU students — then show some yourself.”

Marsha Wietecha, Westchester, September 18th

“I argue for a balanced assessment. […] The partnership recently entered into between LMU and Los Angeles Unified School District has the potential of being a terrific contribution to our local schools. LMU also has a positive financial impact in the area, including income from rooms and whole homes rented to students and increased [retail] sales.”

Kevin Cronin, Playa del Rey, September 18th

THE ARTS

“Venice has many beautiful murals which are in need of restoration and the City of Los Angeles should step forward and dedicate funds to protect these murals and others throughout the city.”

Suzanne Thompson, Endangered Art Fund chair and Venice Arts Council co-founder, April 3rd

“It is absolutely wonderful news [Los Angeles City Council voting unanimously to renew Beyond Baroque’s lease]. It is a victory for the preservation of history, the public realm, and the capacity for experiment. It is a rare triumph for the love of language, the written word, books, and the precious spark that community lends to all of us.”

Fred Dewey, executive director and board chairman, Beyond Baroque Foundation, March 6th

“The Marina del Rey area is fortunate to have many free entertainment offerings such as the Marina del Rey Summer Symphony performed at Burton Chace Park. […] The setting sun smeared pink and orange streaks across the sky, lights blinked around the Marina, a half-moon floated above and music filled my soul.”

Bettina Gantsweg, Marina del Rey, August 14th

“We think that the Blankenship [Ballet Company of Venice] did a wonderful job renovating the old Sunday school and are extremely pleased to be sharing the church building with them. Their performances are extraordinary and have been a positive addition to the neighborhood.”

John Treanor, Venice, member 20th Church of Christ Scientist, November 6th

TRAFFIC, PARKING and ROAD CONSTRUCTION

“Welcome everyone to Palawan Raceway! There are no police and no meter maids, and don’t be bothered that it’s only one way. Hundreds of automobiles break the law every day. And why not? Palawan Raceway has no speed bumps and no law enforcement. So welcome and have a good time. Available 24 hours a day.”

Robert Williams, Marina del Rey, January 1st

“As a frequent eastbound commuter on Mindanao Way, I can (and often do) make a right turn on Admiralty Way, then a left into the shopping center parking lot, then a right turn onto Mindanao (having bypassed the intersection) to continue my travel east — all before the light changes.”

Blaine Lentz, Marina del Rey, January 24th

“We strongly urge that the MTA retain Metro Bus Line 108 service to Marina del Rey to better serve the local residents and workers as well as the businesses, restaurants and visitors.”

David O. Levine, President, Marina del Rey, Lessees Association, February 21st

“Lately I have noticed that, although there are a lot of large earthmovers parked on the road construction site [on Lincoln Boulevard], there is usually only one man actually moving dirt. […] This causes me to wonder if this road construction is taking so long and causing such major traffic delays because it is being built by one man…. Maybe I should pull over and ask him when this will be completed.”

Judi Oergel, Westchester, March 3rd

“I can hear, smell and taste traffic before I get out of bed in the morning. Give us some relief in the form that we need living, this close to the freeways — a sound wall, if you please.”

Ken Browning, Culver City, March 20

“For those of us who live in the most western areas of Venice, this parking problem has become more than a migraine headache. When I make my appeals to the City of Los Angeles to solve this problem, I often feel like Don Quixote tilting at the proverbial immovable windmills.”

Jim Starrett, Venice, April 3rd

“Bus riders need to be acknowledged for the positives they bring to society — we reduce traffic; when we ride buses we share a ride with others, thereby reducing oil consumption, particularly from foreign sources; and we reduce air pollution and global warming gases.”

Matthew Hetz, Westchester, August 7th

DOGS and DOG PARKS

“Dog owners wouldn’t need to ‘encroach’ on ‘forbidden’ areas if government lived up to its responsibility of serving one of their largest groups of tax-paying constituents by providing more off-leash areas for the over one million dogs in Los Angeles.”

Daryl Barnett, Venice, January 10th

“While I, too, am an animal lover, I do not expect others to provide for the animal. If I cannot provide a yard for it to romp and play in, then walking the dog on a leash is not out of the question.”

Jo Ann Scholl, Los Angeles, January 17th

“Not everyone can afford a home with a large yard, and the benefits of socializing dogs with other dogs can’t be overstated. I can’t think of a better recreational use for my taxes than building dog parks wherever practical.”

Andy Perlman, Marina del Rey, January 24th

“My small on-leash Yorkshire terrier, Christy, was killed by a large off-leash pit bull February 25th. Four adults tried in vain to help my defenseless dog.”

Edson Stroll, Marina del Rey, February 28th

“For those dog owners saying to themselves, ‘My dog would never do that,’ please know that the owner of the attacking dog [an off-leash dog near LMU] said the same thing to me after I suffered a puncture wound to my chest.”

Ron Griffith, Westchester, February 28th

“This total disregard of the leash law by irresponsible owners has got to stop. When will something be done to protect residents and their animals?”

Anita Winters, Marina del Rey, March 6th

“Both the dog owners and dogs I’ve encountered, for the most part, are friendly, responsible and kind. […] Thank you for continuing to make your readers aware of these dangers [of attacks by off-leash dogs].”

Carol Ware, Marina del Rey, March 20

“Since 1996, 8,109 signatures of Los Angeles residents have been submitted to County Supervisor Don Knabe requesting a dog beach, pointing out how the other 60 dog beaches that exist up and down the coast of California are successful. As far as we can tell, he and his staff didn’t read it.”

Daryl Barnett, Venice, July 3rd

GROWING PAINS

“There were 87-plus of us who spoke [at the California Coastal Commission meeting on January 9th] regarding the development regulations, traffic, boating, water quality and public recreation as well as wildlife preservation in Marina del Rey — and they heard us.”

D. G. Franklin, resident and boat owner, Marina del Rey, January 24th

“There should be no more massive, high-density development allowed along Lincoln Boulevard from the airport area to Santa Monica, nor in the Marina, until such time as a long-term transportation plan […] is in place and working.”

Richard Chew, Playa del Rey, January 31st

“The group ‘Venice Unchained’ wants a law passed to keep formula retail businesses away from the Venice area. God forbid that a successful business model come into the neighborhood.”

Chris Smith, Culver City, March 6th

“While it might appear that some on the Culver City Planning Commission have no concern for the people living in Westchester, I can assure you that the residents of Culver City do. We realize that things like traffic are a regional problem. They cannot be solved if we only look out for our self-interests.”

Tom Supple, Culver City, March 20th

“When there are children in the home and both parents are working, time for civic affairs is severely limited. But every once in a while something hits an extra sensitive button and the body politic stands back in amazement as citizens turn out in droves to make their point. In Venice even the Neighborhood Council gets surprised when hundreds turn out to reject a fine hotel or express their opinion about fences.”

DeDe Audet, Venice, May 15th

“The 16 projects under negotiation in the Marina, described by Don Knabe’s staff as ‘done deals’, are not, in fact, done deals. They are bad deals. They represent giveaways of publicly-owned land and facilities to private developers without going through the proper channels.”

Carla Andrus, Marina del Rey, June 19th

“Just recently we lost the old Cafe del Rey sign, and now the Edie’s sign has been dismantled and relegated to a parking lot. My recommendation is that these old signs be placed in the new recreational buildings at Chace Park when and if the Board of Supervisors ever decides to reinvest some of the mega-millions of tax dollars collected annually to benefit the citizens of the county.”

Andrea Daroca, Marina del Rey, July 24th

“I’m as sorry as any citizen for the county’s fiscal woes, but they cannot all be resolved in these 800 acres.”

Lynne Shaprio, Marina del Rey, July 24th

“The meeting was attended by County Supervisor Don Knabe in one of his infrequent visits, but he refused to answer any questions pertaining to the overbuilding of the Marina that has gone on unabated during his nearly 12 years as county supervisor.”

Fred Newman, Marina del Rey, August 28th

“It is to be hoped the commissioners will send the county packing when it proposes to relieve the Marina Design Control Board of its responsibilities under the Local Coastal Program.”

Bruce Russell, Marina del Rey, October 23

“There is a 21st century solution to accomplish transparency in municipal government, by utilizing the electronic interface of the World Wide Web. The city [Santa Monica] could implement grass-roots participatory democracy by providing free WiFi, throughout the city, linked to moderated public forums on the city Web site.”

Jon Mann, Santa Monica, November 13

“Many of us have attended meetings regarding the Venice Pumping Plant. […] My biggest concerns are landslides, mudflow and subsidence (sinking earth caused by excavations), improper compaction of fill and, of most importance, dewatering (withdrawal of underground fluid.)”

Carol Kapp, Playa del Rey, December 4th

SANTA MONICA AIRPORT

“How many people have been killed because of aircraft overruns at the Santa Monica Airport this year? Any year? Like I say, we’d save more lives by limiting vehicles on our streets than limiting planes at the airport.”

James Wilterdink, Marina del Rey, April 17th

“Too much weight is given to the users of the airport and far, far too little on how the airport affects the impacted communities.”

Martin Rubin, West Los Angeles

director, Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution, April 17th

“To diminish [Santa Monica Airport] in any way would be irresponsible. In addition to bringing business and employment to the Westside area, the airport provides vital medical and emergency services. It provides airlifts for fire, police and emergency personel in the event of a disaster, such as the quake that we had 13 years ago when the freeways were closed.”

Edith Warren, Mar Vista, April 24th

“What a curious notion is ‘carbon offsetting’ — continue to pollute, pay for it and use the funds to mitigate the negative impact on the global environment. Carbon offsetting is the kind of action an addict takes to support his/her reality avoidance when circumstances call for cold turkey.”

Ken Marsh, Mar Vista, August 7th

LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (LAX)

“Once again, our homes and businesses [in Westchester and Playa del Rey] are threatened by more LAX expansion. We need our friends and neighbors to tell the aiport commission “no” to destroying our community.”

Denny Schneider, president, Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion (ARSAC) and

Robert Achermann, ARSAC vice president, January 10th

“Expansion of LAX is an exercise in futility. […] Why not do the sensible thing and stop spending interminable amounts of time and money trying to do something that will not solve a long-term problem anyway, and use those resources to develop the Palmdale facility that was purchased for that purpose so many years ago.”

Thomas F. Brands, Los Angeles, January 17th

“It’s great that Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl is committed to fighting against moving the north runway at LAX. I’m just afraid that LAWA [Los Angeles World Airports, the agency that operates the city’s four airports] may interpret ‘over my dead body’ as just another item on a task list, on their way to doing what they want.”

Steven Pawera,

Playa Vista,

January 28th

“LAX is one of the smallest major airports in the country attempting to serve the second largest city, plus millions of passengers from Orange County.

Doesn’t anyone

remember learning

in school that you can’t pour ten gallons of milk into a five-gallon pail?”

Don and Ruth Glennon, Westchester, February 7th

“Perched high on top of a telephone pole, our EMU (environmental monitoring unit) is a microphone with five wires sticking out of its top. […] It confirmed that the runway closest to our house was indeed experiencing an ‘altered noise contour’. In other words, it was noisier and I had become ‘noise-weary’.”

Pamela Beere Briggs, Westchester, May 15

SOCIAL ISSUES

“Rich people cry about not giving handouts, when they have so much handed to them. ‘Why should the poor be allowed to live at the beach?’ they ask. But I want to know why the rich are allowed to buy everything at the beach? With a handful of buildings and some minimal funding, not only could homelessness be erased, but all these people — these living, breathing people — could begin leading healthy, productive lives and start contribuing back to the community.

So why don’t you think about that while you are sipping on your latte?”

Signed simply “Homeless in Venice”, March 13th

“I’m not a heartless person. I believe in sharing what I can and assisting people (in need) when I’m able, but I think most anyone rational would consider the prime housing locations a luxury rather than a necessity to be subsidized.”

S. R. Aragon, Inglewood, March 20th

“Now if I, a brown Mexican-American who once worked in a segregated labor crew, could go from that to flying a B-58 at 60,000 feet at Mach 2; between those two extremes, there has to be a job that a person can find that will enable them to be self-supporting. An inside tip — farmers in the Oxnard area are desperate for workers to replace those being returned to Mexico. However, I get the impression that some may not consider this ‘meaningful employment’. Good luck to them anyway.”

Hank Cervantes, Lt. Colonel USAF (retired), Marina del Rey, March 20th

“So as soon as this refund check [the government’s economic stimulus package] hits the mailbox, we will sign it over to the school. This donation will even qualify as a tax deduction next year. […] It will be a powerful message to our government when all these “rebate” checks are being cashed by our schools.”

Claudia Reisenberger and Joel Chichowski, Santa Monica

“I would like to address the issue of RV overnight parking and the lack of vision in Los Angeles planning. […] What do they think will happen to the RVs if they cannot park on those streets? Shifting a problem from one neighborhood to another does not solve it.”

Sandy Forbis, Los Angeles, July 10th

“The very large rent increases, without any improvements, that many (if not all) apartment dwellers have received in Marina del Rey are greedy, thoughtless and unfair. Many seniors cannot afford the cost and many do not have the strength required to move again.”

Kathleen Gillette, Marina del Rey, July 24th

“The Interfaith Clergy Coalition believes that all adult couples regardless of race, creed, color, religious beliefs or sexual orientation must be treated equally under the law.”

Rev. Alan Katz and other members of the coalition, October 30th

“Sorry guys, but this [the passage of Proposition 8] is not an equal rights issue. All most people ask is not to call it ‘marriage’. Is 5,000 years of an institution to remain the same asking too much?”

Ken Rizzo, Los Angeles, November 27th

“The letter writer’s rationale for letting Proposition 8 stand exemplifies the very “tyranny of the majority” that the founders feared and against which our Constitution protects. It will take some time for Prop 8 to reach our Supreme Court, but in the end the court will defend the minority’s constitutional right against the majority’s tyranny. Many will decry the decision, and it will be the correct one for the Republic.”

David W. Kay, Playa Vista, December 4th

THANK-YOUS and REMEMBRANCES

“Our heartfelt thanks from all of us at the Santa Monica Red Cross for your support of the Spark of Love Toy Drives and for making the 2007 campaign such a success.”

Cory Russell, coordinator of

Santa Monica Red Cross Chapter Spark of Love Toy Drive, January 17th

“Senator Jenny Oropeza’s successful legislation to ban smoking in cars with children under the age of 18 was a landmark victory in tobacco control.”

Carol Jackson, Long Beach

chair of the board, American Cancer Society California Division, April 17th

“I would like to express my gratitude to two officers of the Santa Monica Police Department, officer Olivia Marquez, Parking Enforcement, and Officer D. Ramirez, Traffic Division [for their help in locating my stolen car].”

Ben Feldman, Venice , May 29th

“On behalf of Butte College, I’d like to thank [Santa Monica’s] fire department along with crews from Culver City and Beverly Hills who responded to the Humboldt Fire in Butte County.”

Diana Van Del Ploeg, president, Butte College, Oroville, July 17th

“Thank you for letting us know about the fundraiser for the Luna family Sunday, July 20th, in Westchester. I cannot pass up any event that includes firemen and chili. It’s nice to see the community at work, people being there for each other.”

Mary Donaldson, Venice, July 24th

“Geoff Maleman’s comments in his column on the Westchester High Scholarship that has been established in the late Marjorie Eisen’s name so captured the quality and gentle personality of a woman I knew for 50 years that I feel deeply grateful.”

Mary Ellen Cassman, Westchester, August 14th

“I had the pleasure of working hands-on with [the late] Helen O’Niell for a decade as she served as a board member of the Boys & Girls Club of Venice. Helen was a huge part of the club’s success.”

J. R. Dzubak, regional service director Boys & Girls Clubs of America, August 21st

“Today I have nothing but praise for your efforts to offer crossword puzzles which take some thought and a little more than 15 minutes to complete. Thanks for all that help to bring us “older folk” the stimulation that our brains require to flourish.”

Martyn Glover, Playa del Rey, October 2nd

“And just last week, as I picked up The Argonaut and thought at first what I was seeing on its front page was another of a seemingly interminable string of Marina del Rey events, what should I see but the Del Rey Neighborhood Council’s Del Rey Day. For me it was one more sign of Del Rey coming to be a community.”

Tom Robischon, Del Rey, October 23rd

“Our hospice team became like members of our own family. Because of them, Mom was able to spend her remaining time pain-free, at home and with the people she loved the most. As a result, I became a volunteer with Hospice Partners of Southern California.”

Lori Nelson, Santa Monica, November 20th

“Speaking on behalf of the hundreds of viewers who enjoy the [Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade] from the Playa del Rey side of the channel, this parade was the best of the past few years. Yes, Santa Claus did come to town!”

Dan Stefanowicz, Playa del Rey, December 25th

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