Before the summer completely slips by, we need to acknowledge the fun we had at the Westchester/LAX-Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce July 4th “Westchester on Parade” event that honored “American Heroes.”

Brittany Gunell, a St. Anastasia student and Westchester resident, started off the parade in a very patriotic manner with a lovely “America the Beautiful.”

Unfortunately, Brittany’s later verses were drowned out as someone decided to fire up all the Harley Owners Group hogs before Brittany had finished.

Phooey on that.

We can suffer through the loud and — for us — obnoxious sounds of motorcycles anytime. But listening to the sweet sounds of “America the Beautiful” comes too rarely.

Hopefully, whoever runs such things will be a little more thoughtful in future parades.

Alan Kersten — former commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Community Police Station, who now heads safety and security activities at the Los Angeles Unified School District — was emcee for a running commentary on the parade.

John Ruhlen, a Westchester commercial interior designer and space planner, got the coveted role of riding the parade elephant this year.

With his grandson Zachary Ruhlen, John Ruhlen did a splendid job guiding the big fellow down Loyola Boulevard.

Riding the elephant in the annual Westchester July 4th parade has become quite an honor and one is certainly raised to a lofty position by the opportunity.

The folks at the City of Los Angeles Fire Department Fire Station #5 showed off their new hook-and-ladder truck, funded in part by local contributions.

Westchester High is out for summer vacation but six fellows who play in the high school band showed up and created a lot of music for parade spectators.

The students of Locke High School band and drill team always bring a lot of zing to any parade.

Perhaps the greatest display of dexterity in the parade was displayed by the girls of the All Olympians Gymnastic Center, who managed to twist themselves into such amazing positions that we could only groan in appreciation from the sidelines. How do they do that?

Westchester Neighborhood School, which will be moving from Westchester to the Del Rey area near Home Depot next year, had another clever float that featured students from the school.

We always enjoy seeing the big white Great Pyrenees who come to the Westchester parade representing the Great Pyrenees Alliance of the West.

One of the most amusing moments came just before the parade began as three members of a barbershop quartet sat, waiting for their fourth member to show up.

He arrived in time, just barely. We almost had a barbershop trio.

Congratulations to all those who worked hard to make this annual community July 4th parade such a success.

LOBBYIST LAW — It’s been the law since 1993, but most folks are still unfamiliar with the county ordinance that requires those seeking “support” and “endorsement” from the County Small Craft Harbor Commission and the County Marina del Rey Design Control Board to register as lobbyists.

Moreover, before you come before the Small Craft Harbor Commission and the Design Control Board seeking such “support” and “endorsement,” you are supposed to be “familiar” with the lobbyist law.

Marina officials say the Department of Beaches and Harbors has been posting a notice of this lobbying requirement since county supervisors passed the ordinance in 1993.

We like to think we’re on top of most of what is going on in the Marina, but we’ve certainly snoozed through this one for more than a decade.

Now comes a half-page of further dialogue at the end of the monthly agenda of the Small Craft Harbor Commission, detailing where you can go to learn how to become a lobbyist so you can speak out at the monthly meeting of the Small Craft Harbor Commission.

Remember, if you want “support” or “endorsement” from the commission and you come to seek such “support” and “endorsement” from the commission, you must register as a lobbyist.


So much for the feel-good days when neighbors came to tell their government officials what was on their minds.

Remember the good ol’ days when the county welcomed input from the public?

We’re not talking about developers, we’re talking about the common folk who live or who run a retail business or have an office in the Marina.

It’s no wonder that the general public gets fed up with its government — be it on the local, state or federal level.

The idea that someone who wants to come to a commission meeting and ask commissioners to support a community activity, such as a concert, a sailing event or a picnic, must now first register as a lobbyist before talking to a commissioner just destroys the whole community concept.

Frankly, it’s not worth it. Better to just forget about involving commissioners or board members in your community event.

But, just in case you’d still like to get some “support” from the commission for your project of the moment, you can trot over to several locations to learn how you can register as a county lobbyist.

Details are available at:

n the office of the Department of Beaches and Harbors, 13837 Fiji Way;

n Burton Chace Park Community Building, 13650 Mindanao Way;

n Marina del Rey Visitors and Information Center, 4701 Admiralty Way; or

n the Lloyd W. Taber-Marina del Rey Library, 4533 Admiralty Way.

Information on becoming a lobbyist is also available on the Web at:

MOVING VAN DELAYS — Much of last month’s Small Craft Harbor Commission meeting was taken up with complaints by residents of Kingswood Village Apartments in the Marina.

Some of the residents are being forced to evacuate their apartments, as the Kingswood lessee starts a program of renovation.

But none of the meeting minutes note another problem Kingswood Village tenants may be facing as they looking forward to moving out of their apartments.

There may be no moving vans available to accommodate the moving residents.

The moving van issue is also being faced by many homeowners in the L.A. region who are selling their homes to take advantage of the skyrocketing home sales prices.

These homeowners are getting record or near-record amounts when they sell their homes.

But the problem comes when they call up a moving van company and are told it may be a month or more before there is a moving van available to cart out their belongings.

This week the Los Angeles Business Journal reports that so many people are moving in the region that there aren’t enough moving vans to serve them.

The Business Journal says that while a year ago those who needed a moving van might have had to wait a week, now the wait can be a month — and even then you might have to pay a premium to get the moving van to come pick up your belongings.

So, those Kingswood Village tenants who are forced to move may have one more problem added to their plates. They may want to call now and reserve a moving van if they are contemplating a move in the coming month or so.