Posted August 26, 2015 by The Argonaut in Columns
Charter School Issues Need Neutral Mediation

Re: “Strife Returns to Stoner Elementary,” news, Aug. 20

Mr. Walker’s article suggests that the question of how educational resources are allocated among charter schools and traditional public schools is best addressed by LAUSD officials.

Unfortunately, that is far from the best forum. LAUSD officials are elected and are supported in their election by the teachers union. The teachers union is opposed to both charter schools and co-location. Thus the LAUSD is hardly an uninterested observer. They tend to follow the lead of the hand that feeds them.

We would be better served by finding a neutral third party, one whose primary role is not the protection of teachers but rather the quality of the education our tax dollars provide.

Kevin Minihan

It’s Time to Rethink Eggs

The U.S. egg industry has been reeling from a colossal outbreak of avian flu, mostly among egg-laying chickens. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 48 million birds, accounting for 11% of the nation’s egg-laying hens, were slaughtered in the past few months for fear of infection. The effects are far-reaching, from how to dispose of millions of potentially infected bird carcasses to job losses and rapidly rising egg prices.

Although the precise cause of the outbreak remains uncertain, the horrendous conditions in today’s factory farms make egg and chicken production extremely vulnerable to disease outbreaks and therefore not sustainable.

A number of food producers offer plant-based alternatives that mimic closely the taste, texture and cooking properties of eggs and chicken.

Many of us favor replacing polluting fossil energy sources with clean renewable ones. That takes concerted national action. But every one of us has the power to effect that same transition for our food sources every time we shop.

Al Masters
Marina del Rey


Re: “Poisonous Rattlesnake Slithers through Marina del Rey,” news, Aug. 13

Does the Dept. of Animal Control not have officers who are trained to safely relocate wildlife that clearly wandered off a nearby ecological reserve? The notion that bicyclist were imminently in danger of an approaching rattlesnake while Animal Control officers were present seems ludicrous enough if not a reason for concern. Rattlesnakes don’t chase people on bicycles; they try to avoid them.

How about posting signs along the bike path and along the ecological reserve fence line to let people know that rattlesnakes are present and to act accordingly with caution. Maybe it will get some people to keep their dogs on leashes when visiting. There are creatures among us, so let’s learn to live with them and respect their presence.

Jonathan Coffin

I agree with Jonathan. It seems absurd that Animal Control could not catch the snake and had to kill it. It’s sad because the snake was probably either lost out looking for food or water, not out on attack. Yes, rattlesnakes are poisonous, but they are also part of an ecosystem that keeps dwindling.

Early hunter-gatherers lived peacefully with nature and there was a balance. Now with overpopulation and development, Marina del Rey went from a swamp dredged out in the 1960s to an overbuilt, congested mess.

It’s sad to hear when any wild animal’s life is taken. I’m not a fan of snakes, but they are a natural part of the ecosystem.


The California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife has a daily presence at the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve. We’re constantly repairing fences from illegal trespassers, speaking to dog walkers and cleaning up illegally dumped debris (over 30 tons this year alone).

Unfortunately we were not notified about this particular incident until after the fact. Calling Animal Control was a prudent decision, but we agree native snakes are a critical part of any ecosystem, regardless how degraded, and should be relocated back into their habitat when possible. The department encourages anyone who sees anything worth reporting to contact us immediately (richard.brody@wildlife.ca.gov). It takes a village, especially for an ecological reserve surrounded by so much human activity. Thank you all for your concern and assistance. My line is always open.

Richard Brody,
Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve manager

Re: “Strife Returns to Stoner Elementary,” news, Aug. 20

It’s sad that ICEF has taken resources from Stoner. Charter school co-location is the new segregation. There is a definite divide. ICEF has its own private entrance. Now at Stoner there is literally separate and unequal access to education on the same campus.

Carmen A

What a positive example these warring parents are setting for their young children. One of the primary lessons children learn concerns sharing. What ICEF students may “lose” in space they will gain in new friendships, alliances and experiences. When their parents cease viewing public space in such territorial terms, their kids will grow in character. I invite all parents, both privileged and not, to read Jonathan Kozol’s “Savage Inequalities.”

Nika Cavat

Re: “Giving Crime a Fight,” cover story, Aug. 20

This article should have been called “Giving Only One Kind of Crime a Fight.” Where is any consideration given to all of the other crimes: The crimes of people getting illegally kicked out of affordable housing by developers who lie to them, and then lie to city planners? The crimes of quiet neighborhoods getting disrupted by hordes of AirBnBers? Where do you factor in the crimes of health insurance companies jacking up our rates because no one can stop them?

It reminds me of the line from the old Woody Guthrie tune: “Some will rob you with a six gun, some with a fountain pen.” It’s pretty disappointing to think that The Argonaut cares only about one kind of property crime. It’s almost as though you want to distract us while the bigger crimes go on unchecked. Now why would you want to do that?

Mark Kleiman


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