Article missed the point: more noise, less parking

Re: “Bakery permit hits mysterious snag,” news, May 28

Your article misrepresents both the nature of the project proposed for 320 Sunset Ave. and the controversy surrounding it.

According to the architectural drawings made available to the public, the proposal includes a restaurant/bar with 21 indoor seats at the bar, four seats at indoor tables and 65 outdoor seats on the back patio. The article never mentions that this proposed project is a restaurant/bar and the reporter never even uses the words “restaurant” or “bar” anywhere in the article, but describes it as “a bakery concept that would also serve alcohol.”

The article focuses on a nonexistent basis for neighborhood opposition to the proposed project: gentrification. Venice residents are not that shallow. The true basis for the controversy is the same as for every restaurant/bar immediately adjacent to a residential neighborhood: noise and parking. The article never mentions this. The city was requiring zero actual parking spaces and no loading zone for the proposed restaurant/bar. The city determined that the existing adjoining parking lot is not part of the project and would not be required to be used for parking and deliveries. The 65 open patio seats are located directly opposite homes, separated by a 15-foot alley, with a proposed closing time of 1 a.m.

I would suggest that you be more astute about future coverage of Venice planning and development issues.

Robert A. Aronson

LMU isn’t really listening

On Feb. 13, Loyola Marymount University held its required quarterly Neighborhood Advisory Committee meeting which is to address “matters of public safety and student behavior in the community, and other community concerns,” according to the LMU Master Plan.

LMU has a newly hired director of communications who, rather than actively listening to neighborhood concerns, insisted that the meeting be broken into focus groups. She did not participate in any of these group discussions, neglecting an opportunity to integrate herself into the neighborhood by listening and sympathizing; instead she chose to further alienate the university from the neighborhood.

Hopefully LMU will recognize the importance of being a considerate, respectful neighbor. Real neighbors care about one another and work to get along and improve the neighborhood in which we live. Unfortunately, LMU refuses to acknowledge and address issues and concerns that are impacting the daily lives of its neighbors.

Linda Kokelaar
Coordinator, Westchester Homeowners Observing Loyola Expansion

Too much information

Re: LMU forum grapples with the NSA,” news, May 1

In April, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) moderated a forum at Loyola Marymount University on the invasive National Security Administration (NSA) intrusion into the daily lives of ordinary Americans.

The federal program collecting information on almost every citizen has gone too far, with encroachments into our Internet searches as well as monitoring our phone calls and emails. Combating terrorism is a necessary evil which requires interventionist policies, but President Obama’s current domestic program far exceeds the proper balance of security and privacy. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and the purported benefits of massive data collection have worn away our individual liberties.

On a related note, moderation of any kind is a foreign idea altogether with Congresswoman Waters, a polarizing politician who once threatened to nationalize oil companies and who shouted “The Tea Party can go straight to hell!” at a jobs forum in Inglewood.

Last year, following President Obama’s second inauguration, Waters also commented on the president’s political campaign apparatus, Organizing for Action. That database will have information about everything on every individual in ways that have never been done before.

Before indicting the federal government’s invasion of our privacy, perhaps Waters would like to explain why the Democratic Party political machine has retained so much information about American citizens, too. She should then expose the growing invasion of our privacy through the Affordable Care Act, which will require taxpayers to register their medical information as well as earned income.

Instead of discussing the pros and cons (as well as purposes and concerns) related to domestic spying, it would have been refreshing as well as consistent and efficient if Rep. Waters had stood up and shouted “The NSA can go straight to hell!”

Arthur Christopher Schaper

Leadership vacuum to blame for missed opportunities

Isn’t it odd that the most abundant resource of Southern California, and the entire southwestern United States for that matter, is sunlight, but only a very small percentage of homes and buildings have solar panels on their roofs? We have some of the most brilliant minds in technology here who could tackle this, but they’re not. You will hear a lot of excuses as to why this is the case, but they are just that … excuses.

Isn’t it odd that California provides the majority of produce for the country, but there is little being done to combat the worst drought in California in well over 100 years?  Where are the desalination plants?  The gray water systems?  Why is the inventor of the rain catcher installing devices in Africa, even though the company is in Malibu? Isn’t it odd that all homes and buildings in Southern California don’t have rain catchers connected to their rain gutters, and there aren’t more storm catchers capturing rain runoff before it reaches the ocean? Isn’t it odd that mature trees are being cut down in California, including Marina del Rey, even though mature trees are crucial in times of drought because they capture rainfall with their canopies and extensive root systems and funnel said rainfall into the aquifers?

Isn’t it odd that traffic in Los Angeles keeps getting worse, but there are no incentives for businesses that allow their employees to telecommute from home, even though the majority of jobs in L.A. are desk jobs and could easily be done from home? This would drastically cut down on the commuter traffic. Isn’t it odd that developers haven’t received the traffic memo? They just keep building and building … especially in Marina del Rey.

There are many more oddities to list, and you will hear a lot of excuses, but the real reason is that we don’t have good leadership. We lack visionaries. Please send letters and get involved in some way, and let’s implement the things that we all know need to happen now … before things get worse and worse, and we regret not doing anything to change the tide.

William R. Hicks
Marina del Rey