Posted August 10, 2016 by The Argonaut in Columns
Faith in Humanity Restored

I am a flight attendant based at LAX and rent a townhouse in Westchester for my overnights here. On a recent Saturday, I dropped my wallet on Manchester Avenue near Airport Boulevard. I didn’t realize it until the next day and had to leave on a quick two-day trip.

Then I received a call from a man saying he had found my wallet (a black Coach wristlet, which was jam-packed with stuff) on Saturday but didn’t have time to look through everything until that Monday, when he found a receipt with my phone number.

He drove to Westchester at midnight to return my missing wallet — there was almost $200 in cash inside, plus many credit, debit and gift cards — and would not take the cash I offered him for his kindness.

There is so much hate out in the world today, but this man restored my faith that there are still people with integrity who are willing to help others without gain for themselves.

I know this is just a silly incident that isn’t newsworthy in today’s environment, but it meant a great deal to me.

Barbara King

Ryavec Got it Right: Homeless Tax Is Unfair

Re: “No Free Rides to a Better Tomorrow,” Opinion, Aug. 4

Ms. Lucks failed to address the fundamental points of Mark Ryavec’s column titled “Say No to the Homeless Tax” by (July 21), in which Ryavec thoughtfully raised serious questions about the  $1.2-billion housing bond that the city proposes residents and property owners finance over 20 years.

Ryavec did not argue against the bond; he questioned the fairness of the tax that would be used to pay it off and whether that tax is necessary.

In the rush to “do something” about the city’s huge homeless population, city leaders paid little attention to who will have to pay the taxes on the bond issue. For example, recent buyers of real estate will pick up the bulk of the tax burden, while wealthy renters will pay nothing. How is that fair?

While Lucks correctly points out the inequities of Proposition 13, she thinks it’s acceptable to exacerbate the current unequal levies on similar properties with yet a new property tax. So, recent buyers who already have the highest property taxes should, according to Lucks, pay even more?

I am sick and tired of the knee-jerk reaction to always tax property owners for issues that everyone should pay for. I bought my property a long time ago, so it is not the cost that troubles me — it is the fact that the cost is not equitable.

The Los Angeles City Council also ignored its own financial officer’s projections that indicate just 10% of the expected increase in future revenues would allow the city to pay off the bonds without a tax increase.

Why should we add more taxes for the housing bond, on top of the recent increases in sales tax for transportation improvements, when they are not needed?

Ryavec is correct in noting that the poor, indigent and incapacitated (e.g., the homeless) are the responsibility by law of the county but for years the county has failed to increase the general relief amount, which is only $221 a month.  Who can afford a room on $221 a month?

Since Ms. Lucks’ column was published, Los Angeles County again dropped the ball on putting a proposal on the ballot, such as a tax on marijuana sales, to fund homeless services.

Taken altogether, with several other tax proposals on the ballot, residents should reject the homeless housing tax and let the city fund the housing bond from future revenue increases.

Patricia Snyder

Don’t Rip Up Ballona

Re: “Ballona Do-Nothings Behave a Lot Like Trump,” Letters, July 21

As a proud board member of the West L.A. Democratic Club, and one who has studied the plans that David Kay appears to support at the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve, I wonder how much those who are supporting the mechanized alteration project really know.

What I know is that there are dozens of species relying on Ballona which are on special status lists that our government is charged with protecting. I also know there are several species that are so imperiled that they are on either the state or federal endangered species lists. I’ve learned that Ballona was not historically open to the tidewaters of the sea; the animals and plants that Ballona supports demonstrate the freshwater and brackish water nature of the ecology and its equilibrium.

Perhaps the most important thing I know is that if one brings bulldozers into Ballona and digs out the soils that are home to millions of insects and below-ground mammals, lizards and snakes, then the entire ecosystem will be upended.

Then there are the politics that David Kay falsely characterizes. Is he really labeling those of us calling for a gentler approach to managing the wetlands — including numerous Democratic clubs and the L.A. County Democratic Party — Tea Partiers?  Equating us with Donald Trump?

For those of us who are promoting a gentle method to save Ballona, these over-the-top characterizations are troubling and unnecessary.

Joan Gallagher
Santa Monica

What’s That Guy’s Name Again?

Re: “They Elect to Disagree,” News, June 30

Accusations of election fraud coming from sore losers in the Venice Neighborhood Council races?

I’m shocked and appalled!

I thought election fraud went the way of the Edsel when the Supremes ruled in favor of a certain presidential candidate 16 years ago — a candidate whose name escapes me at present, but who ran on a platform of “not sending no American boys to fight in no war in no Vietnam” … er, Iraq.

Bill Bell
Mar Vista

Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing

Re: “Ballona Do-Nothings Behave a Lot like Trump,” Letters, July 21

More blustery nonsense from David Kay, the Donald Trump of the Ballona Destruction Movement.

He accuses supporters of slow and not massively destructive restoration in the Ballona Wetlands of being right-wingers, when he is the one who said (it’s on YouTube, folks) that he would gladly take money from the ultra-rightwing Koch Brothers to fund the bulldozing of Ballona.

Mr. Kay would have us destroy the Ballona Wetlands in order to create a massive taxpayer-funded windfall for construction companies, wiping out the homes for endangered wildlife there as part of an experiment to see whether man can create a fake vision of nature after destroying the real thing.

His only correct statement is that we want to take the wetlands “backward.” What we advocate is precisely what the U.S. EPA defines as a “restoration”: doing minor modifications to return the land to what it was before man screwed it up — and doing it at a slow but reasonable speed, so as to protect the existing 1,300 species of plants and animals there.

Our plan returns the historic marshy delta of creeks and lagoons and sandy islands which existed here 200 years ago.

What we advocate is massively different than the plan pushed by Kay and the secretive and private Bay Foundation. Their plan would wipe out existing wildlife in the hopes that the wildlife would come back after years of bulldozing, resulting in the wetlands being drowned by polluted water.

Their polluted wetlands plan is historically inaccurate, converting the wetlands into something they never were. Thus it is not a restoration, but an industrialization project. It would be super expensive and super disruptive, and it is opposed by many reputable organizations and scientists. California’s Coastal Protection Act mandates that wetlands can only be restored, not industrialized or otherwise developed.

That’s why we and thousands of our supporters oppose the wetlands destruction plan. And that’s why hotheads like Mr. Kay are spouting baloney.

Rex Frankel, Westchester

One Comment


    Thank you Rex Frankel and Joan Gallagher for finally pointing out that reasonably-sounding plans are purely visions of destruction from interested political operatives designed to blind the public from getting the message that the Ballona Wetlands is a functioning wildlife habitat which needs to be preserved in the name of survival, as the wetlands capture fresh-water run-off from the City’s storm drain system, slow soil run-off which undermines buildings during flood stage waters, provides nature opportunities for people needing release from our stressful system and is beautiful, satisfying the needs of drivers navigating through the corridors of Playa Vista, for giving authentic waterfront views, for free, and under light generated by sun each and everyday.

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