Calls VHS student protest ‘irresponsible’

To the Editor:

I have a daughter at Venice High School and I think the protest carried out by the Venice Student Union was irresponsible.

The students and parents who organized the walk-out did not consider the safety of the rest of the student body. Additionally, my daughter lost out on a full day of instruction because the school was in total chaos.

One of my daughter’s teachers told her class they were going to have to listen to opinions on the situation with United Teachers Los Angeles and Los Angeles Unified School District and if they did not want to listen, they could leave. One student was able to take control of an auditorium full of students [to voice his opinion] about the Venice Student Union.

I hope the administration at Venice gets a backbone and requires the Venice Student Union to operate within the guidelines that apply to other clubs and organizations. There is a place and a time for everything, and causing disruption during class time is not acceptable.

Linda Perez, Culver City

Lost her beagle to pit bull attack

To the Editor:

My on-leash beagle Minnie Cooper was viciously attacked by two off-leash pit bulls that had escaped from their owner’s yard on Wednesday, April 15th. Minnie suffered 15 major wounds that required two major surgeries, but her bite wounds did not heal. Minnie Cooper died on May 4th when she succumbed to her injuries.

Minnie Cooper was attacked in the alley behind our business, on Ida Avenue between Lyceum Avenue and Alla Road. The Los Angeles Department of Animal Services conducted a hearing and we were told by the hearing examiner at the beginning of the hearing that the two pit bulls would not be put down and they were given back to the owners.

The two pit bulls live two blocks from Short Avenue Elementary School, which makes this neighborhood unsafe for school children and neighbors. I have made a Web site for my dog, MinnieCoopersStory.org/. I hope that her death will not be in vain. I want people to know the pain and suffering she went through for 19 days before she died.

Nadine Rosales, Venice

Feels Animal Control should do more about dangerous dogs

To the Editor:

After paying $16 for parking, I arrived at Room 1060 in Los Angeles City Hall for an appeal meeting on June 8th. I went to the receptionist on the tenth floor because Room 1060 was empty and dark.

The receptionist told me that she had just been told that last week the meeting had been cancelled and that no one had been notified.

The appeal meeting had been scheduled due to an off-leash pit bull that had killed my Yorkshire terrier in February of 2008, bit another dog in May of 2008 and bit a human in November of 2008 (three incidents in nine months time).

This dangerous pit bull is still free walking the streets of Venice and Marina del Rey near Mothers Beach. This shows how inefficient and uncaring L.A. City Animal Control is in handling this situation that makes it dangerous for residents of this Venice neighborhood.

In April, two loose pit bulls also mauled a beagle in Mar Vista so severely that she died 19 days later. Again, nothing was done to these pit bulls and they are still living in a Mar Vista neighborhood that is close to an elementary school.

We have attended three L.A. Animal Control dangerous dog hearings during the past year and the hearing examiner has always advised that he will hear everyone’s testimony, but he assures the owner of the pit bulls, before the hearing starts, that he will not remove the dogs. How can you have a fair hearing when the hearing examiner has already made up his mind before the hearing even starts?

L.A. Animal Control is irresponsible for doing nothing regarding these aggressive pit bulls. Corrective action should have been taken to remove these dangerous animals from our streets to make our neighborhoods safe again. It seems to me they are more concerned about the killer dogs than they are for the public safety.

Anita Winters, Marina del Rey

Homeless go through trash in alley at all hours

To the Editor:

I just moved into the area a few months ago. Now that summer is here, we are constantly being awakened by homeless people ripping through the trash in the alley looking for recyclables, including climbing into our dumpster (which is trespassing).

I wonder if anyone else in the area is disturbed by the same problem. If so, how do we fix it? I’ve called the police, but they don’t patrol the area that often as we’re at the end of the peninsula and by the time they get out here, they’re already gone, trash is strewn about the street and we’ve already been awakened.

Shann Dornhecker, Playa del Rey

Advises wetlands letter writers to ‘think with their heads, not hearts’

To the Editor:

Folks opposing a comprehensive restoration of Ballona Wetlands (Letters, June 25) should think with their heads and not hearts.

Friends of Ballona Wetlands founder Ruth Lansford is correct to assert that significant but well-planned habitat conversion is necessary to restore a productive and fully functioning ecosystem at Ballona.

Numerous scientific studies comparing before-after biodiversity and productivity at many restoration projects nationwide repeatedly demonstrate greater species variety and numbers, as well as reproductive rates, where upland or muted salt marsh were converted to full tidal inundation. Those are the facts. No matter how strongly you “feel” or “believe” the opposite, doing little or nothing to the existing degraded and buried wetlands at Ballona will not improve their health, nor improve public benefits.

If doing nothing were the goal, then state purchase of the Ballona property would have been a waste of taxpayer money. A comprehensive restoration, including new subtidal, intertidal and public access components has been the goal since “the beginning,” and made that purchase very worthwhile. The only public decisions remaining are how to accomplish this, and there are many options including the Friends’ variation on those proposed by the state.

The detractors argue, again with their hearts instead of heads, that the restoration should not employ bulldozers. Mechanized equipment is only a means to an end, not the end itself. Again, numerous successful restorations in California and elsewhere accomplished large-scale habitat improvements using mechanized excavation and grading, not only to be cost-effective, but because modern GPS-linked equipment can precisely contour land surfaces to within inches of desired elevations optimal for each wetland habitat type. New equipment also facilitates large-scale removal, stockpiling and reuse of existing wetland flora and topsoil with remarkable revegetation results.

Doing such work with hand shovels defies reason and logic and would take a century. The option of doing nothing at the wetlands in order to “respect” existing flora and fauna is analogous to raising a child poorly to avoid the temporary hurt of tough love parenting. Both lose in the end.

As for those who criticize adherence to public process, I would argue that the California Environmental Quality Act, which the Ballona project is now navigating, has proven over 39 years to be the premier environmental planning statute in the nation, if not the world.

Without CEQA, millions of acres of natural lands in California would have been developed, and many of the development and restoration projects subjected to its process would not have turned out nearly as well.

Admittedly, CEQA is not perfect, so we who participate in its process don’t do so simply out of “faith” as one letter writer pejoratively asserted. We actively persuade the accountable public agents using good science, fact-based positions and unwavering dedication to the original project goal — restore the Ballona Wetlands so both the wildlife and the public enjoy a richer ecosystem and open space area than we pre- sently have.

Dr. David W. Kay, board member, Friends of Ballona Wetlands

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