Pony Rides Are a Cruel Anachronism

Re: “Animal rights battle heads to court,” news, March 26

It boggles the reasonable mind that, in 2015, any parent would choose to introduce their young children to horses by way of plopping their kids on the backs of ponies tethered by their foreheads to metal bars, endlessly circling in the very crowded Santa Monica Farmers’ Market.

How in any way is that a reasonable and empathetic introduction to teaching young children to care for and about animals?

It also boggles any reasonable mind that there are rabid supporters of these pony rides who publicly bully Marcy Winograd and others in favor of relocating these ponies. Some supporters of this for-profit business — money made literally on the backs of animals— have called Marcy names and wished her ugly scenarios of misfortune.

I am completely in favor of banning live animals at farmers markets. I’m also in favor of banning the live/exotic animals at the entrance to the Santa Monica Pier. I’d like to think most reasonable people now know better than to exploit these animals in the name of making a few bucks.

Elizabeth St. Rand
Santa Monica

Pony Rides Are Unfairly Demonized

Re: “Animal rights battle heads to court,” news, March 26

I find it utterly shameful that Ms. Winograd attacked the hardworking operators of this business who bring joy to children while caring for their animals in the first place.

Instead of gathering facts from the operators and the animal control division, under whose auspices the operators fall,
Ms. Winograd and others just decided to launch protests.

People who work with animals usually do so because they love animals, and when there is a business interest in their welfare they logically will get better treatment. It’s akin to any other business: take care of the assets that allow you to make a living.

While it is an inherently noble goal to care for animals and want their best interests in mind, people must exercise good judgment and sound fact-gathering to pursue this goal. There is no evidence that the operators of this business, as independently verified by Santa Monica’s animal control division, had ever mistreated any of their animals.

I would advise the protesters to dedicate their energies to cases where real abuse has occurred. The time spent protesting could be better spent volunteering at any of the numerous shelters where animals are waiting to be adopted and oftentimes are rehabilitated after being subjected to horrific abuse. And I strongly encourage them to not harass a hardworking couple who have dedicated their lives to the care of animals that bring children in this large city an opportunity to experience ponies and other farm animals in person. This gives the kids here a better understanding of animals while bringing smiles to their faces and creating memories in the process.

Harley Collins
Marina del Rey

Do Right by Ponies and Protesters

Re: “Animal rights battle heads to court,” news, March 26

It’s time for the legal system and government of Santa Monica to do right by the suffering animals at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market and Marcy Winograd, the selfless hero who’s sacrificed so much to help them.

It’s deplorable that Marcy is being subjected to this anti-free speech lawsuit. And it’s equally deplorable that any officer of the court would have allowed such a frivolous lawsuit to proceed to this point. Let’s hope clearer, more professional and humane minds prevail to end the abuse of these precious animals and the unwarranted retaliation against the woman who has spoken so valiantly to protect them.

Linda Milazzo
West Hills

More Housing Means Lower Rents

Re: Letters to the editor, Feb. 12

Where does the writer think we’ll find housing to support the ever-increasing area population brought on by the promulgation of locals and arrivals from other areas?

Development is an incredibly important component of a growing modern society. It enables a better quality of life for everyone. What would she prefer, a world where we would have public parks full of people sleeping in tents because the limited available housing is either too expensive or unavailable?

Building housing in line with population growth keeps housing prices affordable. And if she doesn’t think housing is affordable enough, she should be arguing for more housing to be built!

To strike an appropriate balance, developers should be regulated by a government that appropriately balances the wishes of the community with the wishes of the individual real estate entrepreneur. This is the system we have in place, making developers subject to land use and planning regulations.

On balance — after hundreds of years of refinement — these regulations strike precisely the balances we need to create inhabitable residences while preserving adequate outdoor greenery and access to natural sunlight for community residents.

Richard Stockton
Rolling Hills Estates

A Little More Attention, Please

In a recent news article the writer mentions L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin as representing Venice and Mar Vista. Councilman Bonin should also be representing his 1,400-or-so Marina del Rey-area constituents, too — homeowners in the Silver Strand and condo owners along Via Marina — but he doesn’t represent us very well.

The councilman leaves us to cope with county policies such as a seven-story hotel on a wetland in a residential neighborhood and the loss of a recreational park that we were promised in our 1996 LCP. Neither he nor the county seem to care that most of us moved here after Proposition 13 and pay very high property taxes, or that we support marina businesses during the week when there aren’t very many visitors around.

One would hope for some support from our supervisor and our council member, but we are instead enduring two years of sewer construction as well as the construction of gigantic apartment complexes. How about some help here?

Lynne Shapiro
Marina del Rey


Re: “School Choice = Whose Choice?” Power to Speak, April 2

Excellent analysis, Ms. Wolfe. The charter school industry tactic of pitting families against each other is one that can only benefit corporate interests. At the end of the day any system of “choice” that takes choices away from others is really a system of oppression, not choice.

Robert D. Skeels

Re: “Party on, Marina del Rey,” Feature, April 9

Three Dog Night was incredible! One of the best concerts I have seen in the marina for the past 20 years. The fireworks were great! Thank you, Marina del Rey. ☺            Mark Mitchell

RE: “The Marina’s Unsung Mother,” Feature, April 9

This is a fantastic article. I’m so happy and proud to know that a woman — a black woman at that — had a major role in the design of the Marina del Rey Harbor. Congratulations forever and
ever!                               Linda

Re: “Life Beyond Politics,” Living Large in Limbo, March 19

What an interesting life you have led, Kelly. Sometimes things that aren’t what we think we want to have happen are actually the best possible thing to happen.
Gail Harrison

You are truly an inspiration!
Frank Mercik

Thank you for being a witness to the truth.
R. Grace Rodriguez, Esq.