The California Coastal Commission will schedule its January public hearing for the first time in Marina del Rey regarding the Marina del Rey LCP (Local Coastal Program), said Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, who represents the Fourth Supervisorial District.

Knabe addressed this and other subjects in his “State of the Marina” address to the Marina Affairs Committee of the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday, December 6th, at Tony P’s restaurant in Marina del Rey.

Knabe said he doesn’t support the proposed Woodside LNG (liquid natural gas) project that plans to bring in to a deepwater port liquid natural gas transferred from one tanker to another, then delivered by pipeline to a natural gas network of the Southern California Gas Company.

Knabe said he would support such a project only if it were located 200 miles from his district.

He expressed concern about the complaints by boat owners regarding slip fees, saying that the rates are determined by market rate in a 60-mile radius.

Knabe said that he and the other county supervisors are waiting to receive a letter from the Small Craft Harbor Commission about recommendations concerning the issue of dock improvements versus slip increases.

Knabe noted that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved several developments in the Marina, including the Woodfin Hotel Suite and Vacation Ownership Resort and a dry-stack storage facility on Fiji Way, although he said the final “over the water” design for the dry-stack storage is being reevaluated.

He mentioned other approved projects, including the Marina Shopping Center on Washington Boulevard, where the Islands Restaurant will be included within one of the buildings, the Del Rey Shores project, a new fuel dock on Fiji Way and redevelopment of the Jamaica Bay Inn on Admiralty Way.

Knabe said there are still issues about the proposed Marriott Extended Stay Hotel at Marina (Mothers) Beach, and that the sudden closing of the Harbor House and Edie’s Diner restaurants also caused him concern.

Expanded parking for the beach-going public near the Cheesecake Factory is also being addressed, he said.

Knabe said the county budget is $21.7 billion and has approximately 85 percent fixed costs associated with it.

The state budget deficit is of concern, said Knabe, because if the state is pressed, funding for the county could be lost.

Los Angeles County has the largest uninsured population in the nation with 2.7 million uninsured, the county supervisor noted. Reform is needed and funding sources need to be changed, and the county should be treated like a state because the number of our uninsured is bigger than that of most states, according to Knabe.

He said he believes that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has the “star power” to elevate the conversation for reform on healthcare.

Suggesting that clinics should have fixed prices for illnesses and medical care, Knabe said that perhaps charging $150 to repair a broken arm would be better than paying monthly health insurance premiums of $600 to $700 per month that no one wants to or can afford to pay, and “we are left with non-paying customers in emergency rooms in hospitals.”

More outpatient services and clinics are needed for individuals coming in with the flu, colds, cut fingers or other non-emergency ailments, Knabe said.

Knabe thanked the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station staff for their outstanding assistance in the recent Malibu fires and commended the fire department for its outstanding work during the Catalina Island fires, saying that both departments are “literally the best at what they do.”

Closing his comments with the remark that he was running for re-election in 2008, Knabe received a plaque and photo of the Marina and was named an honorary member of the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce.

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