We go limping out of the old year, coughing and sputtering, feeling much like that old fellow with the scythe.
Thank goodness there will be a new baby standing by to carry us all on into 2006.
It’s amazing how many of us came down with colds just as the holiday arrived.
Yes, we know, sick staffers are supposed to go home so that they don’t spread their colds to others in the office.
Our problem is that the paper still has to get out, we have the usual number of staffers away on holiday vacation and most of us are coughing and sputtering anyway.
Were it not for the fact that we had a very interesting year here in our distribution area, we’d probably not be as bouncy as we are.
Each year we get to review what happened during the past 12 months. The first half of our report is published this week and if we can hold ourselves and our temperamental computer together long enough, we will have the second half ready for next week.
THINGS GOT DONE — In earlier years, we generally reported on promised projects that hadn’t yet started or seemed bogged down forever.
This year, we can honestly say the list of things that got done or are under way is quite impressive.
LAX AGREEMENT TO AGREE — One starts with that draft compromise at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), where the parties in a nasty lawsuit regarding the proposed expansion — some would say, improvement — finally seem to have agreed to agree.
Don’t for a moment think this LAX “agreement” is a done deal.
As Supervisor Don Knabe pointed out during his recent “State of the Marina” talk at Tony P’s, the Federal Aviation Adminstration (FAA) can do just about whatever it wants.
And the FAA has indicated it has found at least two items “of concern” in the agreement. That’s politic-talk for “we don’t like this at all.”
Still, plans are moving forward for a new south runway that was earlier stuck in the political morass.
The announcement that the only airline using Palmdale Airport was pulling out — ending its daily flights to Las Vegas — was not encouraging for those trying to jump-start flights in and out of Palmdale.
WATERSIDE MARINA — The second big achievement during the year was to finally get the refurblished Waterside Marina Center open.
Although the new Ralphs Food Faire still has to be finished and final touches need to be applied to the California Pizza Kitchen, the pizza restaurant is already open and the center has turned out to be a real gem.
It will be interesting to see what the developer, Caruso Affiliated, does with its similar project at Playa Vista.
PLAYA VISTA — At Playa Vista, the 1,000th home has been completed, a landmark of sorts.
While there will always be critics of Playa Vista, the stories of new residents who have moved in and cut their commuting time substantially are beginning to be heard and it is not just commercial propaganda to say lots and lots of folks really are in love with their new Playa Vista digs.
Just as we moaned and groaned as Waterside Marina Center seemed to drag on and on, we suspect when Playa Vista is finished, more folks will be lining up with the new residents who like the Playa Vista lifestyle.
COMING IN 2006 — There are three big projects in the Marina that may/should/probably will see some action during the coming year.
1. Redevelopment of Mothers Beach, with new facilities on the east side of the beach area for small boats, kayaks and dinghies.
The two most controversial aspects of this project include a new Marriott Residence Inn, planned near the intersection of Admiralty Way and Via Marina.
Plans call for the hotel to be split into two sections, with access to the beach down the middle.
The second area of concern is south of The Cheesecake Factory, where a present parking lot is scheduled to be turned into a park that will have a valet roadway running through it to a new parking area adjacent to the present Marina Fitness Center.
Lessees of the Cheesecake Factory and Foghorn Harbor Inn facilities are quite upset about this part of the plan, saying they will lose some of their parcel.
Others are concerned about losing children in the new park that will have a valet parking road running through it.
Lots of work yet to be done on this one.
2. Fisherman’s Village. The Board of Supervisors has just voted to begin final negotiations on a lease extension that would include the addition of adjacent parcels, thus expanding the pres-ent Fisherman’s Village parcel.
Don’t believe what you may hear or read in other papers that the Fisherman’s Village plan is a done deal, that construction will begin and be completed within 34 months.
Fisherman’s Village lessees have not even presented their plans to the long list of agencies that will be required to support this plan.
Also remember that every one of these agencies, including the California Coastal Commission, will conduct public hearings on the Fisherman’s Village plan.
Remember, too, that it usually takes a minimum of 90 days just to get onto a coastal commission agenda.
Among the agencies that will review the new Fisherman’s Village plans — and hold public hearings in the process — are the County Regional Planning Commission, the County Marina del Rey Design Control Board, the County Small Craft Harbor Commission, the Board of Supervisors and the aforementioned California Coastal Commission.
After all this is completed, the plans still have to get by those pesky folks at the Coalition to Save the Marina, who love to sue everybody with any plan all the time.
Up and running in 34 months?
Don’t plan your parties, weddings and other events at that proposed Fisherman’s Village hotel just yet.
3. Then we have the expansion of Burton Chace Park, which also will have many public hearings and many public opportunities for input before the final project is approved.
One of the main issues in this project is where and when to move Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club.
Yacht club members are obviously anxious to get this issue behind them, but, again, this proc-ess could take a while.
HEAD FOR THE TENTS — While its nice that our police, fire and other government officials are looking after our needs and planning for possible natural disasters, one can’t help but be amused by the “high surf advisory on possible flooding conditions” disseminated last week by no other than Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton.
First of all, we’re amazed that the police chief would issue such an advisory in the first place.
We have lived in the area for all but 18 months of the last 35 or so years and we’ve never — repeat, never — received such a warning from anyone at the LAPD.
Secondly, the areas impacted by the possible flooding mentioned by the police chief — Pacific Avenue on the east, Westminster Avenue on the north and the Marina entrance channel on the south — have experienced some really nasty flooding in the past.
A lot of it had to do with the lack of or poor drainage systems. Water would pile up along Pacific Avenue during high storms and generally disrupt the lives of local residents, especially those trying to get in and out of their garages and front doors.
But, folks learned how to live with it, clamoring a lot for better sewers and drainage systems.
And through the years, the draining system did improve.
There were also miles of new construction in the area, with multi-floor single-family homes built alongside the beach and apartments and condos increasing the density.
But back to the police chief’s message:
Writes the chief, the severe flooding “could result in the need for residents and businesses in this area to evacuate voluntarily.”
But not to worry, says the police chief. The American Red Cross is working on shelter, should the need arise and sandbags are available at no cost at your local fire station.
“While I do not want to cause panic, I do want to remind everyone to remain alert should flooding occur and evacuation become necessary.”
“Oh, sure,” giggled one county official we talked to about this.
“These people are going to rush from their $4 million homes into some American Red Cross shelter?
“They’re probably just going to check into the Ritz Carlton for a few days.”
By the time you read this, the danger of the current high surf will be on the way out. The chief’s alert expires Saturday.
As for sand bags needed for high surf at the same time that New Year’s parties are planned along the Peninsula, one would hope there would be an alternative where one could find designer sandbags — not just those regular ones available at the local fire station.
Some folks have to maintain standards, after all.