Why is Coastal Commission disregarded by L.A. County?

To the Editor:

Why is the Los Angeles County government acting as if it hadn’t been severely rebuked by the California Coastal Commission regarding its overdevelopment projects for Marina del Rey?

At its January meeting, held in the Marina itself, the coastal commission voted 11-0 against the county on practically every aspect of its misbegotten piecemeal plan to hand most of the open space in the Marina over to developers. One commissioner even described this piecemealing as “poor and bad planning.”

County officials say they regard the coastal commission votes merely as “recommendations.” They tell Marina citizens that the 16 projects already approved are done deals and that we must now move along and look ahead to future developments. Tell that to developers in Malibu, even the wealthiest Malibu citizens, who have had their projects overturned by the coastal commission.

It would be encouraging if one were able to report that the most atrocious of these plans, the destruction of the Mothers Beach picnic tables and adjacent dedicated public parking lot, and the shoving of picnickers over to a remote area of the Marina where there is no sand, had been abandoned. Unhappily, this is not the case. (“Dedicated parking lots” means that, under the Marina Local Coastal Program agreed upon between the County and California Coastal Commission, the parking lots throughout the Marina which guarantee public access can only be used for parking or parks.)

And as for the coastal commission telling the county to organize significant public input for its development plans, absolutely nothing has happened.

Bruce Russell, Marina del Rey

Suggests giving tax rebate to schools to offset budget cut

To the Editor:

We are parents at the Ocean Charter School — a Los Angeles Unified School District public charter school — (kindergarten through eighth grade) at locations in the Mar Vista and Del Rey area.

Our school will be — as are all other public schools — hard hit by the governor’s cuts of roughly ten percent of the operating budget.

Even with the most diligent grant writing and fundraising, the school will not be able to make up for these losses, and is facing the difficult decision of which parts of its wonderful arts-integrated curriculum to let go.

In light of these challenges we came up with a surprisingly simple “solution” to our school’s budget shortfall. We called it the “Ocean Charter School Stimulus

Package.”

Please see below our letter to our school families describing this idea. Maybe this can inspire other community members to think more creatively about what

their “Economic Stimulus Tax Rebate” could do, rather than enable individuals to consume more.

Dear fellow Ocean Charter School families:

We just heard at the All Community Group meeting this evening how drastic our school’s current budget situation is due to the governor’s budget cuts.

We all love our school, and it is hard to imagine losing the small class sizes, the Spanish and Japanese programs, the music and handwork instruction, our high standard of teaching staff, etc.

But in reality, we have to cut somewhere or bring in more money.

In our family, we have been thinking recently about why it is that our government is cutting school funding so dramatically. The state has a budget crisis: California is not taking in enough money from taxes to fund essential public services. We believe they should be raising taxes to maintain a functioning infrastructure, but instead, the federal government has decided to refund some of our tax money in the form of an “economic stimulus package.”

Each year when we pay our taxes we start to think about the government spending which we don’t believe in — fighter planes, Haliburton, Blackwater security contractors, an extra lane on the 405 Freeway, etc. We always think, wouldn’t it be great if we could check a box for where we want our tax money to be spent?

And then we realized, this year we actually have the opportunity to do this in the form of the unexpected tax rebate that will arrive within the next two weeks. This is money that each taxpayer is free to contribute to the government agency of their choice.

We don’t even have to choose the Department of Education, we don’t have to choose the Los Angeles Unified School District, we can choose to direct it straight to any individual school, such as our Ocean Charter School.

We know it’s hard, because we all think it’s our money, but if we stop to consider, it’s really not. In a way we are making the same choice as the governor if we don’t invest this money into a publicly funded institution that is now losing part of its operating budget. It’s a little selfish, but Ocean Charter School is clearly our family’s institution of choice.

So as soon as this refund check hits the mailbox, we will sign it over to the school. This donation will even qualify as a tax deduction next year that can then be signed over to the school again for a tax deduction the year after to be signed over to the school.

It will be a powerful message to our government when all these “rebate” checks are being cashed by our schools.

Many parents in our school have already announced their participation.

Claudia Reisenberger and Joel Chichowski, Santa Monica

‘Victimized’ by Marina Beach parking self-payment boxes

To the Editor:

I (and countless others) haveÝbeen victimized by woefully inadequate automated self-parking payment boxes at the parking lots for Mothers Beach [Marina Beach] and at the south end of Via Marina at the channel. The collection and ticketing boxes have failed numerous times and are extremely slow and confusing to operate.

The last time I was at Mothers Beach parking, there were ten cars lined up on Admiralty Way while customers tried to figure out how to work the machine. It wasÝdiscovered that the machine was out of paper and therefore anyone who put their credit card or cash into the machine was suckered out of the $3 fee and forced to park elsewhere.

The machine on Via Marina was broken three times out of theÝfive times that I tried to park there. Either it would not accept our credit cards or rejected the bills we tried to feed in.

By the way, the lamp lights in the parking lot were also not working, so it is virtually impossible to read the instructions in the evening.

Can someone investigate and remedy the situation so we landlubbers can enjoy the Marina beaches and promenades?

Richard P. Rosetti, Marina del Rey

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