‘Nonsense’ for park maintenance to depend on private money

Re: “Zipline attraction gets approval for summer pilot project” (Argonaut, Feb. 14).
There seems to be a basic disconnect between the needs of Venice residents and the wants of the political status quo downtown.
While only one zipline was requested by the vendor in question (Greenheart Conservation Company) when presented to the Venice Neighborhood Council, the California Coastal Commission approved the construction of four of these rides, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times. At $20 per ride and assuming all four structures are installed, the revenue generated by these attractions could be in the millions annually.
But what is the benefit to Venice Beach? The burden of increased visitation that will come with such attractions will fall on the shoulders of Venetians already exhausted by the lack of parking and maintenance that already exists at the boardwalk. What guarantee is there that additional tourists will force the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks to maintain restroom facilities in a responsible manner?
But more importantly, why is something so controversial getting the green light in wake of Recreation and Parks’ inability to keep the boardwalk clean? Any reasonable person can see the Venice Boardwalk has become an eyesore despite being a worldwide destination. At what point does Councilman Bill Rosendahl take responsibility for what is the mess at the beach?
It is simply a false premise to contend Venice needs ziplines to have clean restrooms. I know of no destination public or private that needs private revenue to maintain restrooms in a park facility. This kind of warped thinking only demonstrates how truly broken city government has become, and until the voting public has had enough of such political nonsense, the situation at the Venice Boardwalk will only continue to flounder.
To monetize public parks and destinations because tax dollars are being mismanaged or wasted is an issue not being addressed by Rosendahl or his staff. It’s just another example of a tone deaf city government that has lost touch with this neighborhood and in particular, the residents of Venice Beach.
Nick Antonicello
Venice Beach

Misunderstanding the importance of wetlands

The Annenberg Foundation’s generous offer misunderstands the Ballona Wetlands’ importance.
It is not that the wetlands provide a place for people to learn about nature, although that’s a worthy objective. It’s not that they provide the public with a little respite from urban pressures, although many may welcome that release.
They are important because of the work they do. Wetlands are the most biodiverse of all ecosystems. Estuaries are the spawning ground and nursery for myriad fish species. Seventy-five percent of commercial fish and shellfish need them in order to survive.
We have already destroyed 90 percent of California’s coastal wetlands. That makes every remaining acre crucial to maintaining our marine life, our commercial fisheries, and thousands upon thousands of other animal and plant species that depend on them.
The United Nations Millenium Ecosystem Assessment found that the environmental degradation of wetland systems is the worst of any ecosystem on Earth. A program to teach the importance of wetlands would be great in classrooms, but paving over recoverable wetland to teach us its value would be ironic, to say the least.
David Ewing
Venice

‘Phony’ debate against wetlands center

Re: “Ballona Wetlands: environmental review revised to include nature center” (Argonaut, Feb. 14).
The Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project is finally healing from a prolonged debate using phony information from phony “environmentalists” that profited hugely from the phony debate. I was there last Friday and it is coming along beautifully.
Now some of these same phony environmentalists are attempting to stir up a phony debate for their own personal profit over Ballona Wetlands.
Despite their claims, a cultural center that takes up at most six acres (1 percent) of a 600-acre project area is not “paving paradise.” It is not “destroying the wetland.” It is not “reaping huge profits for developers.”
Instead, it is using private donations to create a facility within the project area that allows people to enjoy, and learn from personal experiences, the largest coastal wetland in Los Angeles County.
Matt Horns
Los Angeles

Out of touch with councilman’s efforts

Re: “Former teacher seeks new job as District 11 councilman” (Argonaut, Feb. 14).
I was disappointed to read Odysseus Bostick’s take on Los Angeles International Airport expansion and Venice homeless issues.
First, Bostick stated that our council member has no influence over the outcome of LAX expansion, when in fact expansion can’t happen without the approval of the L.A. City Council. As anyone who reads this paper would know, Councilman Bill Rosendahl and chief of staff Mike Bonin have been lobbying their L.A. City Council colleagues for modernization and against expansion every step of the way. That Bostick doesn’t know the history or understand the process is very telling.
As for my hometown of Venice, both Rosendahl and Bonin have worked closely with our neighborhoods to deal with the difficult issue of homelessness. There have been setbacks along the way, but also victories – not surprising considering the economy.
If Bostick had come to any of our community meetings over the last eight years as we grappled with how to balance help for the homeless while keeping our neighborhoods safe, perhaps he would have known this.
Marta Evry
Venice

Candidate has fought for residents

Re: “Former teacher seeks new job as District 11 councilman” (Argonaut, Feb. 14).
Your recent profile quoting another candidate for Los Angeles City Council District 11 got it very wrong in suggesting that chief of staff Mike Bonin and Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl haven’t been there for Westchester and Playa del Rey on the issue of Los Angeles International Airport expansion.
Let me set the record straight: as Rosendahl has done, Bonin has been and continues to be the strongest champion for our neighborhoods. I would go even further to say that no one has done more to make LAX a world-class airport while fighting to ensure that it remains a first-class neighbor.
It was Bonin, back in 2006, who sat in a room with airport officials and local residents to hammer out a deal that effectively capped passenger traffic growth at LAX, while allowing sensible modernization of its terminals and facilities. He has been there at every airport meeting, championing the case for airport neighbors more effectively than anyone else. I trust him to continue the process of empowering airport neighbors and giving us a strong voice on the City Council.
We need to continue with a reasoned discussion on all issues that affect our community. Throwing rocks is easy. Being part of the solution takes work.
Nora MacLellan
Playa del Rey

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