United in opposition

Re: “Anarchy in Paradise,” power to speak, Nov. 6

Column writer Laurette Healy, an advocate for Kim’s Market’s change of use into a restaurant, is right: the Venice Neighborhood Council does seek “to placate a familiar crowd that shows up.” That’s because this familiar crowd takes up 90% of the room and represents a majority of the Venice community.

The neighborhood council is there to listen to and represent the majority. This is a democracy, and Venetians are saying enough is enough when you want to put a restaurant in a residential neighborhood — at 600 Mildred Ave., where three streets basically converge.

The pro Kim’s change-of-use group took up maybe 10% of the room. They included the man who was the previous owner of Kim’s and sold it to the new owners, the Searles, plus a man whose proposed project is near Kim’s and has consistently been denied, a woman who said she knew the Searles in New Mexico, and neighbors whom the Searles had reached out to and who apparently think they’d rather have a restaurant than who-knows-what — kind of the devil you know vs. the devil you don’t.

Healey goes on to write that zoning practices are “in full compliance with the law.” The law once was that a black person couldn’t marry a white person. The law was that you couldn’t be gay and get married. Sometimes laws aren’t so good.

The Venice Neighborhood Council Land Use and Planning member who previously handled the Kim’s case said the market value of a parking space in Venice is closer to $100,000 — not the $18,000 one-time fee businesses are made to pay in lieu of necessary parking spaces. The difference comes out of Venice, and the residents of Venice want that money to come back to Venice. Are we being exploited or what? Ouch.

The law requires seven parking spaces for Kim’s, should it become a restaurant, and 11 spaces for Gjusta at 320 Sunset. The reality is that they would each attract hundreds of people, constantly turning over, plus deliveries and maintenance. With the number of streets that converge at these locations, both are traffic accidents waiting to happen.

These two locations seem to be the pinnacle of absurdity — so absurd, in fact that the groups Stop 600 Mildred and Concerned Neighbors of 320 Sunset, along with other neighborhood coalitions, have now joined forces.

Thank you, Laurette. Letters like yours help bring even more people from the Venice community together.

Roxanne Brown
Venice

Ecological missteps in Marina del Rey

There appears to be a disconnect between the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County — particularly in Marina del Rey, which is actually unincorporated land and therefore owned by all of the taxpayers who live in L.A. County. The disconnect lies in the cutting down of trees.

On the one hand, the City of L.A. was among 40 winners from 200 nominees to obtain a United States Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Award in 2009 for its efforts in The Million Tree Initiative — on-going environmental projects to which multiple cities worldwide including Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Denver and London, Ontario, have individually committed.

A common motive shared between these participating cities is the reduction of carbon dioxide in the air to combat the effects of global warming. Planting trees is the best way to pull carbon dioxide out of the air.

The Los Angeles project is funded by a mix of federal money and municipal funding, charities, and corporate donations aimed at increasing the urban forest through the planting of one million trees.

On the other hand, you have L.A. County cutting down trees like crazy along Admiralty Way in Marina del Rey and allowing developers to kill numerous mature trees on properties along Via Marina. As a matter of fact, there are plans by the county to remove about 60 mature coral trees from the medians along
Via Marina.

According to websites like TreeMapLA.org and TreePeople.org, a mature tree can pull around 48 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air per year (one ton in 40 years), which means that cutting down 60 mature trees would increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the air by around 2,880 pounds per year (58 tons in 40 years). In addition, there are plans to remove over 1,000 trees from Mariners Village, which would increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the air to roughly 48,000 pounds per year (960 tons in 40 years).

Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing?

When is L.A. County going to partner with the City of L.A. to combat climate change — or is it more concerned about achieving higher density, which means fewer trees, wider roads, more traffic, more noise, and more carbon dioxide pollution?

I suppose that we could justify all of this with more jobs and more tax revenue, but where are all of these extra taxes going? Are the taxes going to pay for the infrastructure to support yet more density? When does it stop, and what happens then?

It seems that the left and right hands need to work together toward the same end game.

William R. Hicks
Marina del Rey

CORRECTION

Last week’s “Eat like The Bard” on page 19 incorrectly stated the date of Richard Foss’ talk on Elizabethan dining. Foss spoke Monday at the Venice – Abbot Kinney Memorial Library.

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