The Ballona Wetlands needs less opinion and more objective factual analysis Editor: The March 31 letter from David Kay (Jane Velez-Mitchell and the Ballona Wetlands) continues a decades-long pattern of misinformation being justified by a highly emotional “us against them” approach to what should be a fact-based discussion. Dr. Kay has never expressed any interest in an objective analysis of the available facts. He is playing the role of a salesperson whose sole objective is for the public to buy what he is selling. Our organizational approach has been, and continues to be, to help surface all of the relevant facts in the proper context, not only those that we believe support our position that the current restoration plans for Ballona, as designed, would be extremely counterproductive to the long-term health of the wetlands. Dr. Kay suggests that the proposed plan would benefit Belding’s Savannah Sparrow (BSS), even though the environmental impact analysis unequivocally acknowledges the near-term destruction of existing BSS habitat (see page 603 of the EIR) and, more importantly, the loss of virtually all BSS habitat to sea level rise by the turn of the century (see pages 547 and 275 of the EIR). This is a mind-bogglingly counter-intuitive outcome for a “restoration” project that is priced at $182 million. When presented with the maps and data showing this concerning outcome, in an open public forum, Dr. Kay...Read More
Category: Letters To The Editor
Jane Velez-Mitchell and the Ballona Wetlands Editor: Many who read the Argonaut’s exposé on former local TV news anchor and journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell (Argonaut, 3/25/21) will laud her activism on animal care and climate change issues. Her views and actions on the Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project, however, are seriously misguided and grossly uninformed. As a journalist, “unchained” or not, she should know better than to ignore the facts. Her publicly stated views on Ballona at local meetings and events simply parrot decades of outright lies fabricated by other activists who are well-known opponents of the state’s restoration plan. Her advocacy will only serve to harm, not help, either nature or people at Ballona and should be soundly rejected. The so-called “gentle” restoration alternative, now the rallying cry of Ms. Velez-Mitchell and her allies, was carefully evaluated and unequivocally rejected by the in-depth scientific and legal review performed through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Environmental Impact studies. This “gentle” approach was rejected because it does virtually nothing to undo and correct the extensive ecological damage inflicted upon Ballona by Marina del Rey’s construction and many other development infills over the past century. The “gentle” alternative also does nothing to replace the obsolete, massive and tide-choking concrete Ballona Creek channel, which the Fish and Wildlife plan will replace with modern, vegetated flood control features. Neither does the “gentle” alternative protect...Read More
Could This End Differently? Editor: The Main Street outdoor dining al fresco layout we now have has proven far less than the effective rescue plan it promised to be. The good news is that efforts are afoot to experiment with modifications in hopes of moving toward success — becoming a popular social and business district anchored by a thriving restaurant/bar customer base. The bad news is that these efforts are moving at a glacial pace. Let me declare my own bias — I objected to the center traffic corridor with scattered parking lane parklet seating for socially distanced outdoor dining when it first hatched nearly a year ago. My primary reason was that rather than spreading out serving areas to provide space for enough outdoor socially distanced diners to pay the rent and the employees, it presented choke points where the sidewalk was funneled between store fronts and small corrals of parklet customers with their crowds overflowing or folks just waiting for their place at one of the few parklet seats for service. Near equal in importance was my sense that bike lane and vehicle traffic close by made outdoor dining far less enticing than eating in an open-air piazza should be. I certainly wouldn’t want bicyclists sneezing on my guacamole as they wheeled by two feet from my table. I felt all the stakeholders for Main Street not becoming a semi-wasteland,...Read More
Re: Medicare for All Editor: Mr. Tarabour’s letter regarding “Medicare for All” is somewhat misleading in that he does not define it. Medicare for All can mean something like Medicare Advantage, which is negotiated by CMMS but insured and managed by private insurers such as Aetna, SCAN, Blue Shield, etc. This type is favored by over 50% of seniors in California. However, it can also mean a plan under total government control such as original Medicare. In my opinion, the former offers broader coverage at a lower cost than the latter. Just think about the EDD or DMV running your health care. Kevin Minihan Ballona Wetlands Editor: I am ever so appreciative of Argonaut’s bringing this to the attention of Angelenos. Truly…destroying the village (uh, Wetlands) in order to save it…where have we heard that before and how did it work out?! Am I showing my sixties roots? Grr! Lisa Edmondson Los Angeles Anti-Gay Hate Speech Editor: I am writing to complain of a very disturbing situation. At the Santa Monica Pavilions, pier and Venice Beach Ocean Walk, I have numerous times witnessed groups of Christians gathered. They have microphones and speakers, and hold up large signs proclaiming that Jesus is the only way and all others repent or burn in hell. They also yell loudly into their microphones about exactly who they feel are damned and much of their vitriol is aimed at...Read More
Let’s fix Main Street Editor: I think it will better to modify Main Street now so it can survive the present and thrive in the future. That would be better than to let it fail altogether, then afterward try to resurrect the “Good Old Main Street” from the ashes after a complete crash. We could make it easier to decide what must be done if we focused on accurately modeling the details of the various plans and projecting their futures. Imagine if before the present alfresco was laid out, the designers had polled the individual restaurant bars to ask what would be the minimum number of outside seats they each would need to continue service without losing money. Easily noticed, the parklet areas arranged with conforming social distancing could not come close to serving that number. (The city is mum on how many seats they think their plan will provide. I’ve looked everywhere for a seating layout chart as evidence they did this calculation.) One potential model for what we want is what we have: pedestrians and folks waiting in lines on the sidewalks during busy periods, with waiters shuttling back and forth through the sidewalk passersby while scurrying from the parklets to the kitchens and bars inside. Traffic lanes run through the center, bifurcating the piazza and spoiling the gentle outdoor ambience. A different model would barricade all...Read More
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