Thinks others are more deserving than governor for climate change award

To the Editor:

On Dec. 2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) celebrated its 40th anniversary. Community activists, forward-thinking elected officials, innovative researchers, sustainable businesses, cutting edge green technologies and a young eco-activist were among the honorees recognized at the EPA’s 12th annual Environmental Awards Ceremony held at the historic Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. The awards were presented by Jared Blumenfeld, regional administrator for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest/Region 9.

The final award, the Climate Change Champion Award, was presented to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. As one of several thousand Los Angeles and Santa Monica residents who live by Santa Monica Airport (SMO) and who have been exposed to the obnoxious jet fumes spewing out of the governor’s preferred mode of transportation for his regular commute to and from Sacramento – that is his Gulfstream IV private jet – I feel strongly that there certainly must have been countless others who are much more worthy of receiving this award.

The part of his acceptance speech that I found almost comical was when he said, “Everyone, regardless of party, wants to breathe clean air Š” Certainly, one in his position must have gotten wind of the extreme toxic air pollution that residents downwind from SMO are being exposed to.

My “open letter to Arnold” was printed in the local Santa Monica papers around Earth Day, 2009 in which I call on him to set an example and make it possible for the children to play outdoors again by terminating his use of Santa Monica Airport.

He did not respond. I applaud that the “Terminator” is now being terminated along with his regular commutes to and from SMO, and I pray that he’ll not be back.

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

Sees rock soldiers display as ‘magical’

To the Editor:

An unending line of fragile rock soldiers guards the water’s edge of Ballona Creek near the UCLA Boathouse. Whimsical and magical, it reminds me of a child’s towers of teetering alphabet blocks.

As precarious as they seem, these soldiers have stood for several months installed and tended by John Nigama. I watched him enter a meditative state while placing one impossibly pointed rock atop another in perfect balance.

It’s nature’s ephemeral art gallery. You must see it before the earth trembles.

Bettina Gantsweg, Marina del Rey

Thankful to police, community for support following home invasion robber

To the Editor:

On the evening of Monday, Dec. 6, my husband and I survived a terrifying robbery and attempted murder in our Westchester home. The fact that we survived is the most beautiful and important thing, but we have many other reasons to be grateful.

We would like to share some of the positive aspects of our horrific experience and some lessons we learned. First and foremost, the Los Angeles Police Department (Pacific division) officers are our personal heroes and we would like to thank the entire team of officers and detectives that responded to our home and worked tirelessly through the night.

They showed compassion, professionalism and a commitment to solving this crime and we thank them all. Equally as important to my husband and I was the incredible outpouring of love and support that we received from our friends, neighbors and this entire community.

There is a reason we have lived in Playa del Rey/Westchester for over 20 years and we consider ourselves fortunate to live in such a caring community.

Finally, we want to encourage everyone to make a special effort to know your neighbors; to look for opportunities to help each other; to be vigilant and proactive when you see something out of the ordinary; to lock your doors at all times and to take a moment to think about what you would do if you had to defend your life or the life of a loved one.

Bad things do happen to good and bad people, but information is power and we are stronger than we know. Our hope is that sharing our story might help someone in some way. If nothing else, kiss and hug your loved ones today and you’ll be better for it either way.

With gratitude and appreciation, John and Emily Tsakoumakis, Westchester

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