cover_imageUsing the intrigue of the California water wars portrayed in the classic noir film “Chinatown” as a parallel for his tale, author Bruce Russell describes Marina del Rey as a community led astray for the profit of its ostensible caretakers in his new book “Chinatown County: The Sell-Out of Marina del Rey.”

“I got into writing “Chinatown County” because I felt the 10 million citizens of Los Angeles County were never told what their county administration was up to in the second phase of privatization of the marina, which began in 1997 — gated apartment communities and shopping malls taking the place of recreation, for which the marina was created,” said Russell, 85.

Before making his home in the marina 14 years ago, Australian-born Russell worked for Reuters as a foreign correspondent in Asia and Africa from 1957 to 1968, as a Los Angeles bureau chief from 1968 to 1978 and as a Washington bureau chief from 1978 to 2000.

For his book, Russell turns a journalistic eye to the machinations of county politics and land deals to extract an historical and activist narrative that leads to present day.

“I think they’re saving the worst for last — razing Fisherman’s Village and replacing the launch ramp is wild,” he said of county redevelopment plans currently proposed for the marina.

Russell’s first book signing for “Chinatown County” takes place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Pammy’s Place in Fisherman’s Village, 13755 Fiji Way, Ste. D3, Marina del Rey. Copies are $8.95. For more information, email or visit
— Joe Piasecki