Homeless dilemma

To the Editor:

The expanse of poverty in Venice Beach exploded into an expanding problem, and the city took needed action to correct the matter. The poverty of homeless does require greater attention than merely pushing people on the street into alleys or out of the area altogether. However, simply permitting homeless people to take up the sidewalk as a home is not acceptable. The city serves everyone, not just those who do not have a home at the present time.

Following the clean-up, a number of homeless individuals complained that their belongings were removed, and now they are seeking compensatory damages. To expect the city to compensate individuals whose belongings were lost or discarded in the forced clean-up of the region will only impact the entire city negatively. A civil suit will benefit lawyers; it will not aid loiterers or looters who need a job, who need a change of mind and view of their current circumstances.

Furthermore, civil actions against the city on behalf of the homeless merely extend the culture of state dependence, which is a crime in itself for individuals who have less wealth and diminished access to health care because of a government that wants to control and dole out more.

Poverty only worsens to the extent that the government provides handouts rather than teaching individuals to use the hands at the ends of their arms and their hearts and minds in tune with the truth of who they are and what they can be.

Any satisfied legal claims will not rid the poor of their infamy. The court system cannot distribute justice or redistribute wealth without warranting greater dangers to the impoverished individuals themselves and to the community at large.

On another note, there can be no notion more appalling than the insidious insight that “The street scene [homeless] of Venice is part of what makes Venice Beach Venice and is part of what draws millions of people here.”

Individuals who have lost homes, lost hope, and lost a wholesome approach to overcoming their lot, do not deserve to be demeaned as a natural graffiti element for any city. They need to be assisted, or they at least need to be assisted to segregating themselves in another area.

Venice Beach is a warm and welcoming place, but long-lasting shanties and vagrants harm, rather than add charm, to the community as a whole.

Arthur C. Schaper, Torrance

Billboards taint LAX light towers

To the Editor:

Re: “Sign district could be allowed inside LAX under new guidelines” (Argonaut, April 12).

It remains doubtful if Los Angeles World Airports can truly keep billboards inside Los Angeles International Airport from being seen from outside the airport.

They have shown little aesthetic, artistic and community awareness with their continuing policy of allowing billboards around the light towers. One of the greatest public works by the city of Los Angeles of the past 25 years is ruined by those billboards surrounding the light towers.

Those billboards block the sight lines, they compete with the sensibilities of these wonderful towers of light and their changing colors, they destroy the sense of community the towers display, and they tell the city and the world which travels through the airport that the people running the airport don’t understand the value of the light towers.

If LAWA would permanently remove all billboards around the light towers, then I would begin to feel they may be capable of sensible placement of billboards within the airport.

Matthew Hetz, Los Angeles

Development fears

To the Editor:

I have been volunteering my time to help save the last remaining 111 acres of the Ballona Wetlands. After reading the April 12 Argonaut article “Retail center of second phase moves forward following court decision” my heart was shattered.

I fear that hundreds of animals and birds will lose their last remaining refuge and become the ever growing list of roadkill. Plants and shrubs will be crushed under bulldozers clear-cutting the land for yet more stores and the addition of 24,000 more cars in that area. Bulldozing is not restoring.

The corporate banks and voracious realtors win again. Tell me; who stands a chance against their millions of dollars (public relations) machines? Public input hearings are held far away from the proposed areas to be developed and once there, the public is only allowed a minute or two to speak. Board members and the moguls are hiding and are not available for negotiations or even to correspond with.

After being involved with this project and seeing all the alleged dirty political maneuvering, it appears democracy is as dead as the Ballona Wetlands animals by the side of the road.

Louise Steiner, Santa Monica

Wetlands’ future debate

To the Editor:

Re: “EPA pollution reduction plan includes 600-acre ecological reserve” (Argonaut, April 5).

Do the two government agencies responsible for preventing water pollution from wrecking our wetlands and beaches not talk to each other, even though they’re based in the same building in downtown L.A.?

On the one hand, the Regional Water Quality Control Board has just okayed a plan to keep a relatively small amount of urban water pollution from harming the fragile Ballona Wetlands.

On the other, the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission is barreling forward with its alleged scheme to rip out the Ballona Creek levees and flood the wetlands with massive amounts of polluted urban street drainage. Notice the disconnect here?

When Californians spent $140 million and gave up $85 million in estate tax owed by the Howard Hughes estate in order to save the Ballona Wetlands from being developed and overwhelmed with pollution, no one told us our state government’s managers had this extremely destructive plan waiting to be hatched.

Rex Frankel, Westchester

Short-sighted plan

To the Editor:

Re: “Retail center of second phase moves forward following court decision” at Playa Vista (The Argonaut, April 12).

I cannot for the life of me imagine why would anyone think the development “The Runway at Playa Vista” is a good idea.

Just what the Westside needs: more congestion and additional traffic along Lincoln Boulevard. This is an example of terribly short-sighted urban planning.

Two nearby commercial centers – Santa Monica Place and The Promenade at Howard Hughes – are both hurting for business. Why add another big eyesore to the mix?

This is how the quality of life on the Westside is being destroyed little by little.

Laurie Trainor, Los Angeles

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