Closed bike path entrance was vital infrastructure

Re: “Closed gate opens controversy,” news, Jan. 8

The Marina del Rey bike path gate behind Ralphs is a vital access point and should receive the attention and resources necessary for it to remain open. Its closure is a good reminder of how wanting our infrastructure is for pedestrians and cyclists.

We should be working to get this gate open and then move to vastly improve the amenities overall.  For example, if I were with my kids getting a volleyball at Sport Chalet, how could I then bike to Mother’s Beach with the gate closed? Even with the gate open, there is no safe way to ride with children to Mother’s Beach.

Recent improvements to Admiralty Way have done nothing for cyclists, and Via Marina is now essentially a six-lane highway. Meanwhile, families are riding bikes on the sidewalk. What we have seen to date is not a recipe for turning the marina around.

Address the basics and the people will come back.

Thank you for your coverage.

Andrew Basmajian
Del Rey

Save the (Christmas) trees

On Jan. 3 I observed a crew grinding up unsold Christmas trees at a lot at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Centinela Avenue.

I imagine such waste and destruction goes on throughout our country each year, and this saddens me.

Walter Fengi

A job well done

Three cheers for Senior Deputy Tim Hazelwood of the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station, whose exemplary actions on Nov. 7 resulted in the return of bank cards, ID, hotel key cards and cash to a visiting East Coast physician.

What began as a leisurely bicycle ride could have resulted in a stranded traveler and possibly some serious criminal activity. Instead, those lost items were brought to the Sheriff’s station and Hazelwood made several attempts to contact our visitor through his hotel.

Hazelwood’s persistence paid off, and several hours later those recovered items were returned to a very grateful doctor. Capt. Joseph Stephen should be very proud to have Hazelwood under his command.

Daniel Cheng
West Los Angeles

Takes one to know one

Re: Letters to the editor, Dec. 24

May I dispute the mindless ravings from Carol Easton and Edward LaGrossa, who have no firsthand experience in homelessness but believe they are experts on the subject?

I was a bum for 29 years for the same reasons as today’s so-called homeless. We don’t want to pay rent or pay for food or pay for clothes. We do not want to pay for one damn thing — that is the reality. That is why we are out here. We are not nuts, and if we don’t drink, smoke or take drugs, living on welfare and food stamps is all gravy.

There are some problems from living as a bum. If it gets too cold we have to bundle up or go to a shelter. When it rains, we get wet and never seem to dry out. The biggest difficulty comes from the thugs who would knock out someone for his last 43 cents. That is as low as you can get.

So to folks like Ms. Easton and Mr. LaGrossa, please stop calling people who disagree with you “haters.” These are the facts — the simple truth straight from a former bum.

David Long
Santa Monica

Take back our city

My New Year’s resolutions for Santa Monica:

Take our city back from the city employees. Eliminate perks and reduce six-figure administrative salaries.

Eliminate all positions that are not productive or overpaid. Institute an employment policy for residents only and at a living wage.

No more taxes: SaMo is already rich enough!

Repeal L.U.C.E. and shut down the Palihouse. No more construction without Residocracy approval. End the war over the streets with pragmatic solutions.

Get rid of planter medians and anything that narrows streets. Protect cyclists with solutions that work, rather than painting green stripes. Beautify Lincoln in ways that don’t encourage or obstruct traffic. Much more needs to be done at the site of Olympic High School than a mural.

Fight the FAA in court and make SMO a park. Rehire Elisabeth Riel and terminate Ron Gould immediately without a pension. Hire a fiscally conservative city manager.

Create resident review boards to monitor and evaluate the budget online.

Turn the Civic Center into a giant homeless shelter with segregated dormitory areas for children, women and men, with a 24-hour security presence. Stop fostering dependency among the homeless with so-called nonprofits. Provide those homeless who can work with real low-income housing and living-wage jobs to recycle waste and clean up the city.

Recall the Santa Monica City Council. Implement a virtual town hall on the city website.

Jon Mann
Santa Monica

Stop the deforestation of Marina del Rey

Re: “Activists battle Oxford Lagoon renovation, news, Dec. 11

There seems to be a belief by the developers of Marina del Rey that people would love to live in something that resembles a hospital — stark and virtually barren of trees. Just because people move into these new developments does not mean that they love them. People move to Marina del Rey because of the marina, the weather and its proximity to the beach, freeways and the airport, so they move into whatever is available.

People like to live in new and updated homes, but this does not mean that they don’t want trees and water features as well. People love trees and water features — we have for eons — so let’s combine eons of tried-and-true natural instinct with the appeal of new and modern living to create the best of both worlds.

The representatives of L.A. County, meanwhile, have decided to go on a rampage to remove or allow the removal of thousands of trees from Marina del Rey. These include, but are not limited to, hundreds of trees at Oxford Lagoon, dozens along Admiralty Way, hundreds from where Shores is now and where Bar Harbor was located on Via Marina, and hundreds more at Neptune Marina. I am sure that there are many more on the chopping block for 2015 and beyond.

Trees not only have aesthetic and psychological value, they also absorb carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, collect rainwater and provide shade and wind shields, thus reducing energy costs. A mature tree can absorb about 48 pounds of carbon dioxide and produce 260 pounds of oxygen per year, can capture up to 4,000 gallons of rainwater per year, filter it, and fill our aquifers, as well as conserve household energy through its shade.

Trees have an average value of $525 per tree, according to Management Information Services, and a mature tree can often have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000, according to Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers. For the trees in Marina del Rey that have recently been removed or are in jeopardy of being cut down, we are looking at a whopping price tag.

Since Marina del Rey is L.A. County land, this means that its trees belong or belonged to all of the residents and taxpayers of L.A. County. Consequently, who is going to reimburse the over 10 million L.A. County residents for these trees now and for the lost value for years to come?

William R. Hicks
Marina del Rey


Open the gate!

Re: “Closed gate opens controversy,” news, Jan. 8

It’s a crying shame we can’t get this fixed. Access to the bike path and Yvonne Burke Park is key for people who want to be active and stay fit. How much could it be to pour some concrete pathways with a gradual slope to make this safer and accessible for all? It’s one of the few routes around the marina that makes riding a bike faster than driving.

Scott Greene

Come express your support for reopening this bike path gate at the upcoming meeting for the Del Rey Neighborhood Council’s Land Use and Planning Committee.

Show up at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 15 at 11976 Culver Blvd., Del Rey. Neighborhood Council member Matt Wersinger has proposed a motion and needs voices of concerned residents and home-owners to get this fast-tracked.

We had no idea why the gate was shut, but there must be a simple solution to make this a win for everyone. Knowing the area, it wouldn’t take a team of people but a few hours to pave a simple ADA-compliant ramp connecting the park path to the Ralphs parking lot which cyclists and joggers could safely use to enter and exit the park.

Whitney M. Cole

Talking Stick will be missed

Re: “The Talking Stick goes quiet,” arts, Jan. 8

As a former employee for almost two years, I loved working with our team and being there for the community. Our customers were not just customers, they were good friends also. One of the best rewards from this job was getting to know everyone who walked in. This environment and home will be missed!                        Ohmiggi

Breakwater flag should be replaced

Re: “Where’s our flag?” guest opinion, Jan. 1

It’s been over a year since the disappearance of the American flag from the Marina del Rey breakwater. I know because I have reported and complained about this many times. Sorry, but this is not a hard replacement. I suggested to Beaches and Harbor that they should get one of the local universities that use Ballona Creek and the marina for their crew training. One year to repair this? That’s just lazy, and perhaps even shows a lack of caring.               Brian Allman