Delay Wetlands Park for El Niño

Re: “Tiny Wetlands Turn into Battleground,” News, Nov. 25

The county plan calls for “clearing and grubbing” of the site at Via Marina and Tahiti Way by Dec. 22. Clearing is the cutting down of all trees, including the willows. Grubbing entails the removal of the layer of the soil that contains all the roots.

All that will be left on the site is exposed dirt, with nothing in place to help rainwater and runoff soak into the soil — and nothing to help keep the resulting muck contained within the site, either.

The article downplayed attendees’ deep concern about destruction of this wetland just as the largest El Niño in living memory is about to strike. It also neglected to report that attendees repeatedly and pointedly pressed county planning specialist Michael Tripp to convey the community’s request to the Board of Supervisors to postpone destruction of the wetland until after this “Godzilla” El Niño (as The Argonaut’s Nov. 5 cover story put it ) so our community can retain the flood-control benefits of the wetland. As it is now, the land would act as a huge sponge and lessen the risk of flooding for hundreds of surrounding apartment buildings, condos and houses.

Why is the county casting public safety aside by rushing this project just as El Niño is about to strike, while at the same time urging Marina del Rey lessees to spend money and energy on flood control preparations?

Nancy Vernon Marino
We ARE Marina del Rey

Save Emerson Adult School

See “Fighting for their ‘Second Home,” News, page 6

Westchester has had a vibrant community adult school at the Emerson Community Adult School site since the 1970s. The school currently serves hundreds of local students who are using the site to improve literacy, finish their high school diplomas or obtain low-cost career training.

Now Emerson is being told to move — to make room for a charter school that needs the site temporarily until they complete fundraising efforts to build their own school. I’ve heard the charter school is being told to move from its current location to make room for a middle school program to serve the needs of Playa Vista residents. It seems these changes are being pushed through by Supt. Ramon Cortines weeks before he retires from LAUSD. It would be nice if the residents affected by these changes had been consulted or considered. While facilities engineers are at Emerson measuring and planning for
new occupants, no one here
is in the loop.

Emerson was once Emerson Manor, an elementary school that was closed due to environmental concerns about it being so close to the airport. EPA reports cite high levels of particulate matter, which is of concern regarding cancer. Have our standards for children been lowered so much that, with LAX’s northern runway moving closer, we are willing to house children here regardless of health risks? And there’s also the prospect of increased traffic for the neighbors.

Emerson Community Adult School is a thriving campus. There are currently waiting lists for all of its academic classes, which speaks to the need in this area for adult education.

We need more classes and more opportunities for the disadvantaged and those needing help to participate in the economic recovery, not less. Adult education is such a small investment for such a big return: educated adults who are employable and can participate in democracy.

Westchester residents should have a say in what happens in their neighborhood. Please voice your concerns to our school board member, Steve Zimmer. We need to have a voice in this decision. We need to keep Emerson an adult school!

Christine C. Gallardo
El Segundo

(Gallardo teaches at Westchester-Emerson Adult School.)


Re: “Tiny Wetlands Turn into Battleground,” News, Nov. 25

Piecemealing projects through the approvals process is not allowed under CEQA and the county is perpetrating a lie with its Orwellian language by calling it a “wetlands park.” Nowhere in the world is there such a thing as a wetlands park. The Army Corps of Engineers does not have that description and it is not a legal name description of land anywhere. Even their own biologist said it was a unique project.

Los Angeles County has for 11 years refused to allow an independent biologist to have access to the land. What are they hiding? LA County is taking redevelopment fees designated for park conversion of parking lots like Parcel FF and using it to help a private developer accomplish his goal. That is probably one reason for the county to call it a park.

The county has a long history of deceiving the public and never once have they listened to it. The problem we have is that our supervisor takes campaign money from developers. Thank God he is termed-out soon. His legacy will live forever in infamy.

Hans Etter, Marina del Rey

Re: “Ripped from the Headlines,” News, Nov. 25

I hope Andrew Keegan gets every penny, even though I like the company being sued. This reckless disregard for the cannons of journalism has to be dealt with in no uncertain terms, no pun intended.

Max Worthington