County ‘vision’ sees only developers

Re: “The trouble with Mariners Village,” nautical news, Sept. 11

Although my family and I do not live in Mariner’s Village we have lived adjacent to it across Via Marina for over 35 years. We have raised a family in this area and enjoyed the benefits of the marina as it was originally constituted, a recreational small craft harbor for the public.

We now feel that we and our way of life here are under siege by the misdirected “visioning” of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors for the benefit of the special interest real estate developers. Yes, these are the individuals who will be the beneficiaries of the monstrous mega-developments which are planned for my neighborhood.

I have examined the list of pending construction projects for this relatively small and compact geographic area. They are huge and appalling. A current example is the towering monstrosity on Villa Marina known as Shores. On the opposite side of the street facing it is the construction site of an additional colossus, which will further block the sun and our view. This corridor of high-rises will initiate the Wilshire-ization of a community whose legal compact and envisioning spirit created a series of low-rise developments with broad areas for public parking and visual appreciation of our treasured small craft harbor.

If this grotesque urbanization proceeds to its fullest, the increase in density and traffic, compounded by a lack of infrastructure, will totally degrade quality of life in the marina. In addition, there will be no practical plan of evacuation for the residents in the event of a disaster.

This current plan is a folly which can only result in the complete degradation of the quality of life of current residents and the destruction of Marina del Rey. Please reconsider with a view toward preserving and enhancing the elements which originally made the marina a great place to live and visit.

Nancy Himmelfarb Ozersky
Marina del Rey

Rabbi come lately …

Re: “People of the open book,” interview, Sept. 17

As a resident of Venice for most of my life and a congregant at Congregation Mishkon Tephilo on Main Street since I was a child, I was stunned to read the interview with Rabbi Lori Shapiro in which she is quoted as saying, “It was always really clear to me that Venice had no [Jewish] community.”

Perhaps the Venice Jewish community that exists is not to her taste, and that is her prerogative, but a vibrant Jewish community exists and has existed for close to 100 years.

Congregation Mishkon Tephilo was founded in 1918, and Pacific Jewish Center revitalized an existing shul in the 1970s that has been a Venice Boardwalk landmark since the 1950s. These communities are not just brick-and-mortar, but living, breathing entities that express the full range of Jewish life as houses of study, of prayer and of gathering. They count engaged and active Jews among their members and continuously outreach to the community at large. In addition, there are various smaller traditional minyanim currently existing in Venice, and at least one Jewish Renewal Group as well.

In fact, Rabbi Dan Shevitz of Congregation Mishkon Tephilo invited Rabbi Shapiro to speak at our Saturday (Shabbat services) last year. She was graciously received by the members. Does this not mean that we are an existing Jewish community?

I am glad that Rabbi Shapiro has found a way to fulfil her mission, but to say that Jewish Community didn’t exist before she got here is unfair to those of us who have always been here.

Aliza Wine

Poverty drives Ebola epidemic

It is decidedly gratifying to note the manner in which media commentary regarding West Africa’s Ebola-virus outbreak increasingly points an accusatory finger at these nations’ incredible degree of impoverishment in so far as it is as contributing factor to the epidemic’s severity.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone occupy an absolutely subordinate position in the global economy. As exporters of raw materials and importers of manufactured items, they are effectively consigned by transnational corporatism to what can only be termed servitude. It is a measure of their plight that they are not even agriculturally self-sufficient despite the fact that a substantial majority of their economically active citizens are peasant farmers. They truly are in the worst possible socioeconomic situation, even during what passes for “normal” times.

Ebola is indeed a public health crisis of the very worst sort, but it is also imperative that the emergency’s class and economic aspects be included in any worthwhile analysis of what is taking place.

Liberia is the worst-hit of the afflicted nations. It is interesting to note that a higher share of the Liberian GNP is accounted for by direct foreign investment than in any other country in the world. Iron ore and rubber exports account for the preponderance of that country’s export revenues. Yet only a very small proportion of its labor force is at work either mining ore or tapping natural rubber. Foreign investors and their local helpmates have constructed what amounts to an “enclave of prosperity” within a much larger sector of the population that is either stuck in subsistence forming, or else is substantively unemployed.

This situation has existed ever since the country adopted what it calls its “economic open door,” but it is pretty obvious that foreign investment has done very little for the Liberian public health situation.

Ebola will eventually be beaten back, but any lasting answer to the sort of social emergency it represents will only come from steady economic development, determined investments in education and health, and a decision at the highest levels to place the wellbeing of local inhabitants over the business prerogatives of foreigners.

Frank W. Goheen
Marina del Rey