We Need More Parks
Re: “Speak Up for Public Parks,” Opinion, Jan. 28

I attended the workshop meeting that county officials held at Burton Chace Park to hear input from the public about where more open space or recreational facilities are needed in Marina del Rey and how existing parks or facilities can be improved. I would estimate that 70 to 80 residents attended, which was practically standing room only.

Let’s face it — we need additional parks! The parcel of land at Via Marina and Tahiti Way, which was once planned for a park, is slated to become two hotel properties. Wow, we really need more hotels in the marina. We now have six hotels, which have in excess of 1,100 rooms. As I understand it, these rooms are seldom filled to capacity.

Meanwhile, the growth of condominium and apartment buildings has been overwhelming during the past several years. The Shores, completed just a few years ago, has 544 apartments and replaced a property that encompassed only 76 units. In two years another development at Via Marina and Marquesas Way will bring approximately 230 apartment units.

I have lived in Marina del Rey for 33 years and moved here because the marina was created for recreational use for all the people of Los Angeles County. How do the construction of two additional hotel properties and many more apartment units “fit in” for recreational use? The ridiculous traffic congestion is at an all-time sad situation. The developers certainly have not included more lanes for traffic in their planning, and it is obvious that the county has not requested the same. They do not live here.

Our neighborhood is being raped by the county because properties in the marina are cash cows for county coffers. It is very sad to see county officials let our marina fall into the hands of developers and moneyed interests.

Jim Maurer
Marina del Rey

‘Help Mike Make it Happen’

Re: “Mike Bonin’s Big Idea: Acres of Prime Venice Real Estate Slated for Affordable Housing,” Cover Story, Jan. 28

Hurray for Mike Bonin and a vision for the Metro bus yard in Venice that makes sense and responds affirmatively to L.A.’s biggest need: affordable housing. And I’m delighted that the mayor and L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl have pledged their support.

But I am not holding my breath.

The last time the City of Los Angeles actually committed public land to affordable housing in Venice was in 1995, when then-Councilwoman Ruth Galanter caused the transfer of city property located on Fourth Avenue to Venice Community Housing to build 25 units of permanent affordable housing for low-income working families.

Since then, notwithstanding numerous proposals by VCH to build more housing on other vacant city land as well as above city-owned parking lots in Venice, our local politicians have pretty much ignored the affordable housing crisis in Venice and Los Angeles that Mayor Tom Bradley first identified almost 30 years ago.

It will take enormous and sustained public pressure on the MTA, the mayor and the L.A. City Council to make this latest proposal anything more than a photo op for a good idea. Let’s roll up our sleeves and help Mike make it happen!

Steve Clare

Let’s Do Even Better than 35%

Re: “Mike Bonin’s Big Idea: Acres of Prime Venice Real Estate Slated for Affordable Housing,” Cover Story, Jan. 28

Ours is not the only city in an affordable housing crisis, but ours is the worst of any major city in the country. A recent Harvard study says that 58.5% of Los Angeles area renters can’t afford what they’re paying, so we’re talking about millions of people. The problem is structural at both the city and the federal levels.

In Venice, as elsewhere in the city, our crisis has been caused largely by a failure to protect existing affordable housing. We are building housing faster in Venice than anywhere else in the city, but instead of helping resolve the crisis it is making it worse, as large luxury homes replace affordable ones at a rate found nowhere else.

The MTA project will not solve our crisis. Nor will building on every city-owned property. In fact, the MTA formula reported in The Argonaut, requiring at least 35% of housing built on their land go be affordable, shows how far we are from honestly addressing the crisis. If 58.5% of Angelenos can’t afford their rent, and only 35% of rents on these properties are affordable, then we’re building a 23.5% deficit into these projects being touted as a solution.

I support Mike Bonin’s determination to build affordable housing on this property if he can get the percentage up from 35% to a meaningful level. We have lost thousands of affordable units in Venice due to lax enforcement of the Mello Act in the Venice Coastal Zone and to low prioritization of housing protection in general.

It’s better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness, I keep reminding myself. So let’s push for this development to be truly affordable, not just a fig leaf to cover up the enormous policy failures that have made the need so urgent.

David Ewing


Re: “Affordable Housing is the Right Move for Venice,” Editorial, Feb. 4

Artists are also being forced out of Venice by rising prices and other dynamics. We do need affordable housing for maintaining diversity and the Venice “spirit,” but that must include an emphasis on retaining our creatives. We need affordable housing for artists!

Sandy Bleifer

Re: “Joe’s and Roosterfish Call It Quits,” News, Feb. 4

Great story! Venice isn’t dead, it’s still the second most popular tourist trap in L.A. Been here 63 years, born on Jib Street and Speedway, hung out on the ZooWalk and surfed the same surf forever — but it’s the turmoil that’s always made it fun. Beatniks hippiefied, now Millennialized. Only real change occurred when 100s of oil wells and tanks along sandy beach roads transformed into streets lined with three-story buildings. The place is still a party.

PD Lankovsky

We at French Market Café are very sad about the departure of longtime institutions like Hal’s, Roosterfish, Primitivo and Joe’s. And it’s true that Abbot Kinney Boulevard’s core has changed a lot, and not especially for its own good. We at French Market Café are very proud of serving the Venice Community since 1993 and will be for quite some time, as we have no intent to leave Abbot Kinney.

Agnes Martinez

Re: “Venice Remembers Brian Zarate,” News, Feb. 11

Brian, you will be missed. Our prayers for your family and friends. Now you can surf the perfect wave.


You were my first love, Brian. I knew you for 26 years, and me, you and Dwayne had tons of adventures together. You will be very much missed!

Stacy Jones

You will be missed. RIP my friend. Venice King.

Stephanie Donahue

Re: “Releasing Evin Prison,” Opinion, Feb. 11

“I don’t dare tell her anything! But if she looks in my eyes, I would give her all the support in my heart … [and] love for being herself, because I believe she can find her way.”

This is a beautiful quote, one that’s relevant to other women in situations where decisions need to be made and many people offer advice — advice that may ultimately be the wrong words for her to hear.

How refreshing it would be if more people would practice the art of listening, supporting and, loving. Perhaps then fewer people would feel imprisoned inside the advice of those who assume to know their needs, rather than supporting them as they find their own way.

Melanie Holmes

Re: “Mike Bonin’s Big Idea,” Cover Story, Jan. 28

The City Council has been allowing rent increases for 20 years, even during the great recession. The result: housing costs have far outpaced the average salary. What a surprise. Now the answer is to be found in one lot?

Stop rent increases. That’s the change we need, not headline-grabbing stunts.