The Homeless Have Rights

Re: “It’s Time to Decriminalize Rest,” opinion, April 16

At last, an intelligent and compassionate story about decriminalizing homelessness. They have as much right to be here as we have — morally, if not legally. Thanks for giving a platform to Michael Rapkin, who tells it exactly like it is.

Carol Easton

Marina Is Falling Prey to Greed

Re: “A Time for Change,” interview, April 9

I have to take exception to some of the comments made by L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe in The Argonaut.

When he says that “some people are upset about what we’re doing,” I have a correction to make: It’s not that some people are upset, most people are upset.

Granted, certain improvements have been and are still needed, but the idea of steamrolling over residents for the sake of bringing in more retail and tourism is just another example of this disease called greed. Greed having gone too far.

Bringing in tourism is contrary to why many of us call Marina del Rey home. We live here to get away from tourism and the overall congestion of West L.A.

Marina del Rey is not Disneyland, for crying out loud!

In regard to the question about bringing in the tech industry, Mr. Knabe says, “I don’t know if those operations would fit in here, especially if they’re near the water. … There’s a limit to what we can do.”

So how do you explain the Technicolor, Play-Doh, LEGOLAND monstrosity on Via Marina that’s kitty-corner from the Cheesecake Factory?

“We’re on track to polishing this jewel we call Marina del Rey,” Knabe states. More like polishing off Marina del Rey.

As far as I know, none of these grand schemes for redeveloping Marina del Rey were ever put to a vote.

For the past three decades it’s become mainstream in our culture to fire people from their jobs. Now this same greed is trying to “fire” people from their residences.

While the article reads that “the county retains ownership of the marina,” I have a different view. The land belongs to God. But somehow these developers are playing God, and in doing so are overturning our lives by bullying their way into Marina del Rey and doing whatever they want whenever they want.

As Mr. Knabe says, “There is no limit to what we can do.” Believe me, we noticed. For example, the constant tearing up and resurfacing Via Marina and Admiralty Way. Now the reason is to replace the water lines. Why wasn’t this done all the previous times they were ripping up the roads? In the near future we have more road projects to look forward to on Admiralty Way and Via Marina and more resurfacing on Via Marina.

From what I’ve seen so far, all of these construction projects do nothing but create more and more traffic problems, and Mr. Knabe wants to bring in more tourism? That’ll be a joke, and not a very funny one.

A time for change? Maybe getting a representative who actually gives a damn about the people who live in Marina del Rey.

Syd Vogler
Marina del Rey

Moved to Write

Re: “Girl on Fire,” cover story, April 2

Encouraged by that lovely poem by the young poet laureate, I am sending my first-ever attempt (and I am 82):


Grateful for your welcome, so long ago, but still bewildering.

Your smiling faces have limits, it would seem. For you are bewildered too?

You ask whence I came, but do you know where that is?

Or what that implies?

If I tried to tell you, would you be closer to knowing?

And why was I the lucky new American, your door left to be pushed open?

There were others with me. So many others.

Do you believe the unlikely stories I sometimes let escape?

When we talk, you see a mirror image of yourself in me.

But then, what can I expect? Expect you to pierce the fog, bend the reverse prism of a lifetime?

My roots have forgotten, almost, the soil where they first grew,

Soil polluted with shrapnel and bullet casings, nourished by anonymous blood.

Welcomed to your world, I still can’t become you. I try.

On top of a real, clean mattress, I float and dream of NOW,

Free of the last memories of feared uniforms and rusty barbed wire.

Those who were so close to me, but whom I left behind forever, speak to me. And never of my guilt.

We do not even find the right words with them, as we no longer think in the same language.

My past and the NOW are etched on clouds, moving at different speeds, overlapping, but rarely acknowledging each other.

And those who helped me escape, where are they now?

Adam Kliszewski

Meat is Murder for the Planet

Just in time for Earth Day, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has made it official: consumption of animal products is not environmentally sustainable. Their conclusions match those of a massive 2010 United Nations report, which concluded that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and climate change.

Carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to operate farm machinery, trucks, refrigeration equipment, factory farms and slaughterhouses. The much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools.

Moreover, animal agriculture contributes more pollutants to our waterways than other human activities combined. Principal sources are animal wastes, soil particles, minerals, crop debris, fertilizers, and pesticides from feed croplands. It is also the driving force in world-wide deforestation and wildlife habitat destruction.

In an environmentally sustainable world, just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar and other sustainable energy sources, animal foods must be replaced by vegetables, fruits and grains. Our next trip to the supermarket is a great starting point.

Steve Prosky
Marina del Rey

Mega-Mansion Backlash

Re: “Home Sweet McMansion,” opinion, April 2

Tony Peyser is The Argonaut’s Jon Stewart. Long live Tony Peyser!

Venetians are seeing a lot of McMansions and Mega-mansions going up. Check out on 7th and California avenues, for example.

Councilman Mike Bonin votes to restrict McMansions in Venice east of Lincoln Boulevard, but not west of Lincoln? What gives?

A friend of mine lives next to a newly built McMansion. Her light and air are gone, and she now has mold. If your neighbor puts up a home up that damages your health and wellbeing, is he or she liable?

On my block, a new neighbor has built a reasonably sized big modern home. He’s 6’6”, so if anyone needed a McMansion, he might be able to justify it. But, hey, he’s Canadian — and Canadians care about their neighbors. They have socialized medicine.

Often in America, the attitude is NIMBY:  “If it’s not in my back yard, I don’t care.”

Many Venetians believe in NIMNBY:  “Not In My And Not in My Neighbor’s Back Yard.”

At the April 1 hearing on 259 Hampton Drive, a consultant said she was surprised and upset that some Venetians were appearing and speaking out against the project, even though they didn’t live within the standard 1,000 feet of it. Venetians replied that what happens in one part of our community affects and overflows into all parts of our community.

Hey, I guess Venetians are like Canadians. We’re proud to care about our neighbors. Blame Canada!

Roxanne Brown

New Rules for Driving on Speedway

Having lived on Marina Peninsula for over 16 years, I have been an avid journeyman on Speedway — whether it be by foot, by bike or by skateboard. Sometimes walking with my wife, sometimes with my terrier, and of course the occasional late-night heel toeing boogie with an imaginary friend. And I can honestly say that the lack of safety and courtesy in the driving etiquette of residents and non-residents has become appalling.

So let me set the record straight. Here, in my humble opinion, are the new Resident Rules for Driving on Speedway:

1. Speedway isn’t actually supposed to have speed demonstrated on it. Ease off the pedal, lead foot.

2. We know you love your music, but it’s your music, so keep it down or keep ‘em rolled up. You don’t want to end up like Pete Townshend.

3. If you drive your beloved Harley with a blaring muffler, no one cares, keep it slow and keep it down. Actually just don’t drive it down Speedway, Easy Rider.

4. Just because you live here doesn’t give you the right to drive down Speedway the wrong way. Is getting home 60 seconds quicker so important you can’t take the time to go one more block down Pacific Avenue to drive the correct way? Leave driving in the wrong direction to the tourists coming to Venice Beach.

5. Stop signs are meant to be stopped at, not rolled through, and certainly not when turning onto Speedway itself.

6. Racing to work in your car in the morning to the job you either hate or love does not give you the right to act like a drag racer. You live on the beach for a reason, go easy.

7. When met with the decision of whether to squeeze through a parked delivery truck and a pedestrian, choose this option: Wait, let the person walk by, then drive through.

Non Resident Rules:

1. Actually, it’s just advice: There is no parking for the beach. Go north.

Michael Burns

Marina Peninsula