No need for ‘brain surgery’ at wetlands

Re: “Time for public input on wetlands restoration alternatives to end soon” (Argonaut, Oct. 17).
I’d like to comment on the state Department of Fish and Game official who, most ridiculously, said, “Because of all of the alterations of the terrain in much of the wetlands, (removing sediment) cannot be done by using garden trowels and a bucket.”
This statement was made in response to concerns from citizens that the Ballona Wetlands ecological reserve and the wildlife there be treated with the utmost of care, protection and respect, as is the mandate of the very agency the commenter represents. Why is this ridiculous? For one, there is no good reason for the need to remove “sediment,” which – to the lay person – translates to soil, one of the primary components of a coastal marsh.
I am reminded by what one of the community leaders and longtime surfers in Malibu, Matt Rapf, said, when he learned of a similarly misguided, destructive, bureaucratic boondoggle at Malibu Lagoon: “It’s like performing brain surgery to try to cure a headache.”
The tools one uses all depends on the problem and the diagnosis. If one needs brain surgery, then the tools used for that are different than the aspirin one otherwise might require.
That’s the entire problem with the project planned for the state-owned lands at the Ballona Wetlands. There is no need for “brain surgery” for an ecosystem that is filled with life – numerous imperiled, endangered and threatened species that are no longer found on the Los Angeles coast because we’ve paved over the other coastal landscapes that once were home to some of these species.
Numerous groups have proven that the “garden trowels and a bucket” approach works perfectly fine for some of the restoration that is required for this Picasso – which we don’t want to turn into some form of art that it isn’t. And we might even need some pruning shears, some rakes and some trash receptacles, but we certainly don’t need bulldozers.
It’s only a headache. And one that can be easily cured. But we must respect the patient. First, “do no harm.”
Marcia Hanscom
Chair, Sierra Club Ballona Wetlands
Restoration Committeeand Executive Director,
Ballona Institute
Playa del Rey


Voter requirement confusion

My first time voting at the Mar Vista Community Council elections was a disappointment. At the check-in table where voters sign in and are supposed to be verified, no effort was made to check anyone to see if they were stakeholders. On the contrary, one of the volunteers was telling people they did not have to live in Mar Vista to vote in the neighborhood council elections.
I overheard the nice woman tell people that if you are a regular shopper at the Mar Vista Farmers Market, have a vested interest in Mar Vista, or if you have kids attending one of our schools, you can vote.
This is a clear misrepresentation of the rules that were printed in the Oct. 25 Argonaut on page 17.
This is an example of why we need voter identification reform in this country. If this is happening locally then it’s happening nationally.
Dean Roberts
Mar Vista