Kudos for Coyote Diligence
Re: “Westchester’s Coyote Crier,” News, Sept. 8
Since moving to Playa del Rey, getting The Argonaut on Thursday has become a weekly ritual. The pups have even learned “Let’s go get the newspaper,” and up the hill we go.
And, speaking of pups, I can’t say thanks enough to Ms. Suzanne Armstrong and the volunteers dedicated to informing the community of the abundant and rampant coyote presence in Playa del Rey and Westchester.
Concern about coyotes is no exaggeration, as some critics voice in the article. The howl of a pack can be heard in wee hours of the night. In the last week we have made two reports of coyote sightings in the area. I believe apartment personnel and condo managers should inform their tenants of this issue.
And shame on the man who confronted Ms. Armstrong because his organization was planning its own community outreach. He should be so lucky to know what a pet provides for those in need of companionship or assistance because of a disability. He is in desperate need of a fuzzy-lipped kiss!
Playa del Rey
Community Meeting: Coyotes in Westchester and Playa del Rey
The Neighborhood Council of Westchester – Playa and L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin are holding a public meeting about local coyote issues from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the Westchester Senior Center, 8740 Lincoln Blvd. Representatives of Los Angeles Animal Services and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are expected to speak. RSVP to www.11thdistrict.com/coyote_community_mtg.
FROM THE WEB:
Re: “Westchester’s Coyote Crier,” News, Sept. 8
No one bats an eye when they let their cats outside to kill birds and other wildlife, but a coyote gets a hold of a few cats and people are up in arms. Solution: Keep all pets on a leash and cats indoors where they belong. It’s usually the pet owners’ fault for being irresponsible.
Don’t kid yourself, Alex. These coyotes will do sweeps through neighborhoods and wipe out hundreds of cats in a matter are months. Then they will focus their hunting efforts on the dogs. Small, medium, or large — the size does not matter. Those dogs at greatest risk are puppies and older dogs that may be sick and are unable to adequately protect themselves. We have seen it happen over and over.
This article was well-written and fairly balanced, as it covered most sides of this conversation. One part was left out: Humans are the cause of this conflict. Development has removed habitat for wild animals. Humans are responsible for attracting coyotes to the neighborhood by feeding them, by feeding feral cats, and by allowing food and garbage to be available to wild animals. Humans have allowed their pets to roam free or be outside during the hours coyotes hunt. When humans take responsibility for their actions instead of blaming coyotes, we will be able to live side by side.
This is Why Public Records Access is Vital
Re: “Not the Kind of Buzz You Want to Hear,” News, Sept. 15
The Ballona Wetlands Land Trust appreciates The Argonaut’s coverage of the Ballona Wetlands, including the recent article on the dramatic increase in mosquitos at the Ballona Freshwater Marsh over the summer.
The Land Trust was happy to provide The Argonaut with the notices from Vector Control referenced in the article that we obtained via a public records request. However, the article incorrectly states that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the State Lands Commission both have a representative on the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy Board of Directors. In fact, the Secretary of Natural Resources for California appoints one representative for the state, which is currently an employee of Fish and Wildlife. The article also leaves out the fact that Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin (District 11) also appoints a member to the Conservancy Board, with the other two seats appointed by Playa Capital and Friends of Ballona Wetlands.
Given the conservancy’s public/private management structure, we have asked for copies of agendas and minutes of their board meetings to help shed light on this and other issues, but they have refused to voluntarily provide those records, citing their status as a private nonprofit.
That position, of course, ignores not only the public representatives on their board of directors, but also that, according to their own statement, the conservancy’s “sole purpose [is] maintaining the Freshwater Wetland System,” much of which is on public land.
The Land Trust will eventually get these records via the California Public Records Act, but it is very disappointing that they have not been provided voluntarily. It is clear from the information we have so far that public oversight of this nonprofit has been passive at best.
At a minimum, Councilmember Bonin’s office should have ensured that constituents were aware of this public health issue as soon as the notice was issued, and Bonin should have issued a public statement outlining his office’s response. Instead, it appears the hope was that the issue would just blow over with the public none the wiser.
Public/private partnerships work best when the public has access to all information about the partnership. That wasn’t the case with the Annenberg Foundation’s three year foray into a construction proposal at Ballona (since abandoned), it has been a problem with the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission/Foundation (although that situation is slowly improving), and it certainly isn’t the case with the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy and its secretive public/private management structure.
Although the Land Trust is often mocked for its diligence in getting access to public records — and sometimes getting them via litigation — we know that those efforts have profoundly benefited the public and the public’s natural resources. We will continue to serve the public and pursue our mission by increasing transparency in the conduct of the people’s business.
Ballona Wetlands Land Trust