Proposes Ballona Wetlands entryway instead of dry-stack boat storage at Dock 52

To the Editor:

Dry-stack boat storageÝmay be a good idea, but the county has proposed it in the worst place possible in Marina del Rey [“Dry-stack boat storage proposal presented to Chamber Committee,” The Argonaut, July 24th].

The only unimpeded tidal creek in the Ballona Wetlands regionÝruns under what is now called the Dock 52 parking lot. This creekÝbrings ocean tidal waters into the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve, now a state-owned treasure. Also, Dock 52 is the only free parking lot in Marina del Rey.

Many elected officials have visited Dock 52, entering the Ballona Wetlands there to envision what could be. Dock 52 is the perfect location for a public entryway to Ballona. There could be a nature center and observation tower rising above both the wetlands and the marina, showing the “bird’s-eye view” of the linkages and connections, with guided nature tours leaving from this spot.

The tidal creek under the parking lot could be daylighted, so visitors can see the fish, rays and other marine life traveling through the water from the Marina to the wetlands. No more hiding the wildlife; let’s embrace it. The county’s budget could benefit from eco-tourism if the wildlife and natural resources are respected and embraced.

Marcia Hanscom, co-director, Ballona Institute, Playa del Rey

Santa Monica offer of ‘carbon offsets’ to jetters is ‘smoke screens and mirrors’

To the Editor:

I am writing regarding “City offering ‘carbon offsets’ to users of Santa Monica Airport,” in the July 24th issue of The Argonaut.

Because the City of Santa Monica is taking this rather insignificant step and making a big to-do about it, I feel obligated to try to set the record straight.

This fits quite well into the category of smoke screens and mirrors. I agree with Santa Monica airport commissioner Susan Hartley’s comment at the July 28th Airport Commission meeting when she said, “This is a slap in the face to the thousands of residents suffering daily from the fumes.”

For multimillionaires to throw a dollar or two into an environmental kitty will in no way scratch the surface of the environmental injustice they commit each and every time they board a private jet and fly out of Santa Monica Airport.

If the City of Santa Monica truly wanted to address the air pollution crisis that has gone on now for about 20 years, it would take some time and money and begin an ongoing robust data collection of the idle/taxi/jet blasts. The data could go right into a computer modeling program that would yield important information. Modeling, after all, is the preferred method of the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] over monitoring.

We do not need to waste precious time with more ambiguous monitoring studies that totally miss the target while we wait and wait, all the while families and their pets getting seriously sick from breathing toxic jet emissions day in and day out.

The fact is that although emission standards for aircraft are the responsibility of the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] and the EPA, banning the gross polluting aircraft from landing at an airport has never been tested in a court of law.

With regard to the new ordinance banning the faster C and D class aircraft, the City of Santa Monica points out that as the proprietor of the airport, it has the proprietary right and obligation to protect against safety and health impacts to the surrounding communities and to protect itself from liability claims.

Santa Monica needs to aggressively address the air pollution issue, too, and stop with the smoke screens and mirrors already. Again, this “carbon offset option” offers no relief to the impacted residents who have been forced to breathe toxic jet emissions.

Martin Rubin, director Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution, West Los Angeles

‘Carbon offsetting’ doesn’t improve quality of life around Santa Monica Airport

To the Editor:

I am writing regarding the city offering “carbon offsets” to users of Santa Monica Airport.

What a curious notion “carbon offsetting” is — continue to pollute, pay for it and use the funds to mitigate the negative impact on the global environment.

Are economic priorities so dear that we are willing to embrace polluting behaviors that, in this case, effectively hold local people’s heads to the exhaust pipe — a form of “pollute locally, take action globally.”

Even if possible, using the funds to plant trees, install solar panels, or take other comparable measures in Santa Monica Airport’s surrounding pollution-afflicted neighborhoods would yield no positive gain on their quality of life.

Carbon offsetting is the kind of action an addict takes to support his/her reality avoidance when circumstances call for cold turkey.

The challenges of climate change demand focused attention on the local reality, acting quickly to stop pollution where we find it, not make it the object of craps-table side betting.

Ken Marsh, Mar Vista

The bus rider must be first priority at transfer points, not driver convenience

To the Editor:

If there are to be any changes to bus routes and configurations at Manchester Avenue and Sepulveda Boulevard, the first priority must be given to us, the bus riders. Priority should not be given to drivers or even local residents.

Yes, that intersection is a major transfer point. However, bus riders do not purposely seek routes with transfers; they are avoided whenever possible because transfers invariably mean a longer commute time. But we must use the system as it exists, and many times this requires transfers. (If more people of Westchester rode buses, they too would use this intersection as their transfer point, and perhaps even as their destination.)

The bus rider must be the first priority because the timings of transfer are critical and must be part of any calculation in changes to routes and reconfigurations of buses at this intersection. Many times I need to transfer at Manchester and Sepulveda, and the bus I am riding is one signal-cycle late. I miss my transfer as I stand on the corner across the street, unable to cross against a red light, and I see the bus I need speed away. This lateness can be less than a minute, and in the evening, the wait for the next bus can be 30 minutes to one hour. This is a very frustrating situation.

B

us riders need to be acknowledged for the positives they bring to society — we reduce traffic; when we ride buses we share a ride with others thereby reducing oil consumption — particularly from foreign sources; and we reduce air pollution and global warming gases which pose hazards to the region and the world, including Westchester.

Matthew Hetz,, Westchester

Disturbed at seeing suffering birds, feet tangled in trash in Burton Chace Park

To the Editor:

I visit Burton Chace Park in Marina del Rey, on the average four or five times each week.ÝThe beauty and tranquility of the park are very therapeutic and a wonderful way to start my day.

I’m deeply disturbed, though,Ýto find a growing number ofÝbirds in the park suffering and dying due to their feet becoming tangled and bound together by the fishing line, birthday ribbon, yarn, and the like, carelessly strewn around. People need to wake up and realize that littering does not only create an eyesore, it can be a matter of life and death to an innocent bird.

It breaks my heart to see pigeons and sea gulls unable to stand or walk. Some have lost toes and entire feet when, in an attempt to free themselves, they inadvertently tugged so hard theyÝcut off circulation to their limbs.

We need to teach our children, as well as ourselves, that it’s everybody’s responsibility to care for our parks and wildlife. The maintenance staff at Burton Chace Park does a wonderful job keeping the area clean, but they cannot possibly be everywhere, at all times.

Maybe someone experienced in handling birds (a vet orÝvet tech, perhaps) could offer a helping hand to these birds in peril.ÝJust a short visit every week or so by a capable person could save so many of our feathered friends.

And maybe we all could do what my friend always does when he goes to Chace Park. As he walks his adorable dog Cuddles each morning, he picks up and properly disposes of anything that might pose a problem for our birds. At the very least, anybody can, and should, do that.

Please really think about this. We shouldn’t let our birds suffer.

Cheryl Anne Yuhasz, Santa Monica

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