Housing at our future’s expense

See “New Apartments Slated for Downtown Westchester,” news, page 11

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has called for building 100,000 new housing units in the city by the year 2021.

In Westchester, those plans are causing a detrimental ripple effect for neighborhood schools —specifically the proposed development of a five-story, 136-unit apartment complex on a narrow lot once occupied by the Westchester Christian Church and Westchester Secondary Charter School.

Such a tall building will hover over the existing homes of longtime residents on Kittyhawk Avenue, and neighbors have expressed outrage over the inevitable increase in traffic, air pollution, noise and density as well loss of privacy. There is already very little surface-street parking in the area due to LAX-related taxis and trucks.

Another huge issue is that sale of the property for development has evicted Westchester Secondary Charter School. It was originally proposed that the school would be moved to Crenshaw High School (over six miles away), but now they’re looking at Cowan Avenue Elementary School. That would mean Cowan would house local elementary school classrooms, the Cowan Avenue Gifted/High-Ability International Humanities Magnet, a special-needs education program and now a charter middle school.

Without a doubt there will be an influx of even more students to the area, adding to an already overcrowded jumble of charters, magnets, special needs and traditional public schools.

Some special-needs students are already being bounced around from school to school every two or three years because of limited space at existing schools. This can be extremely detrimental for special needs students who have difficulties creating and maintaining friendships or dealing with new environments.

Someone should explain why we are overdeveloping Westchester at the expense of our children’s educational future.

Mayor Garcetti wants more affordable housing for Los Angeles residents, but this proposed development only takes into consideration what the rental market will bear. Evidently at a cost to our kids.

James Bevardos

Westchester

Let’s leave Santa Monica Airport alone

Re: Letters to the editor, April 2 and March 19

With respect to Thomas Pleasure’s letter to the editor in the March 19 issue of The Argonaut, I would submit that wealthy pilots are required to follow the same FAA regulations that pilots of the middle class follow. By virtue of their wealth they are able to fly bigger or fancier airplanes, just as moneyed people can own Aston Martins. They should not be condemned for this.

As for Harrison Ford’s forced landing on Penmar Golf Course in March, I would not necessarily blame poor aircraft maintenance. Statistically, certain flight mishaps do occur and for a wide variety of reasons. Your comment that Venice pilots flew dinky little planes over the beachfront for a long time without crashing is a testament to the relative safety of light aircraft travel!

Concerning Alan Levenson’s letter to the editor in the April 2, issue, all pilots — including private pilots — are trained or should be given training in how to deal with a forced landing. There are specific procedures to execute in emergencies, and Harrison Ford obviously did some things right.

We hear about major airplane crashes at or near airports all the time and about aircraft with hundreds of passengers disappearing without a trace over the South Pacific. But do we hear clamoring to shut down those airports or curtail flights? What about Hawthorne Municipal Airport? It is also surrounded by high-density residential sprawl. LAX?

Unless the writer is about 100 years old, Santa Monica Airport was in place long before he (or most other readers of this, for that matter) was born. Considering the tens of thousands of annual operations at this airport, the safety record looks pretty darn good! Aviation is here to stay. Let’s leave SMO alone.

Dennis Schachter

Mar Vista

FROM THE WEB:

Re: “The Marina’s Unsung Mother,” April 9

I will hold my head much higher today after reading about you, Ms. Lincoln. What strength to persevere through discrimination due to gender and race (I’m sure there was some of that too). God bless you and thank
you!                  Sharon DuBois

Re:” $30-million School Construction Plan Comes Under Fire,” news, April 16

How do you embrace diversity if you suggest that anything Chinese is communist and not something you want in your neighborhood? You may not realize that many of the parents who send their children to the Mandarin immersion program live in the neighborhood, and a good many aren’t Chinese. But a great many people have invested time and effort into creating new opportunities for children in our neighborhood.

What do you tell all the children in this program, that you don’t want them in your neighborhood even though it’s their neighborhood too? If we really want better schools, we need to invest in them. We won’t get better schools if we keep complaining when they’re to be built in our neighborhood. It’s an amazing program that does a credit to our neighborhood. This is not a foreign invasion. Fear-mongering like this is of no benefit to our children. Let’s give them all the opportunities they deserve and not try to impede every attempt for them to find a place to learn.

Baron Brady

Re: “Reinventing School,” cover story, March 26

I love Grandview Elementary! To sum them up, the principal and teachers are proactive in their efforts, large and small. This is so important. They are thinking ahead, and you can see and feel that positive energy everywhere. They also handle problems that come up immediately and effectively. The children naturally develop a depth of multicultural respect and understanding, not just through immersion, but from a curriculum that explores many cultures. Priceless.

We commute from Topanga to go here and have never looked back. I am so grateful for this school.

Monica McCarthy

I oppose paving over the only remaining green space in our neighborhood for another building that we don’t need. It’s a waste of precious green space and taxpayer money. As others have said, there is already plenty of empty classroom space in existing schools. And on our already insanely congested neighborhood streets, more traffic is untenable. This is not the solution.

Also, our youth are connected to their iPhones and computers and obesity is at an all-time high. We need this space for recreation and respite to address physical and mental health.

Once you pave over green space is it gone forever. I hope we don’t let this happen.

Nancy Williams

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