In defense of factual basis voters

I worked the polls during the recent Del Rey Neighborhood Council election, reviewing the self-affirmation voting registrations and helping stakeholders figure out which area directorship they were eligible to vote in. Most of the factual basis registrations did not claim an area and voted on the officer slate.
When I helped count the ballots, I noted that not all officer positions were voted for by factual basis voters and that none of the races were remotely decided by these voters.
I’ve always supported the idea of factual basis voters and candidates because most of them have been a unique part of our Del Rey community. We have had voters and candidates from our little L.A. County enclave adjacent to us, people who have grown up in Del Rey who come back to serve Del Rey, and of course, people who like our community and want to serve.
We have been blessed by these folks over the years. I feel that all board positions should be open for factual basis candidates because some have legitimate ties to a certain area or some needed talent for an officer position.
Having folks like the above are worth the risk because we need their help and talents in our neighborhood. Over 95 percent of the Del Rey community is oblivious to the notion that they are a community. Sure, there are some structural reasons for that but apathy is the main reason.
The Del Rey Residents Association has been working on this for over 40 years and our Del Rey Neighborhood Council has been in the campaign for over nine years.
Sure, there is always potential for abusive takeovers by groups within and without a community. Any community that allows this to happen deserves what it gets. Let’s be a community of neighbors, not residents.
Michael H. Stafford
Del Rey

Party’s local power waning

The 50th Assembly District fight in the Santa Monica Bay pitted two Democrats together to take down the seat in the general election.
Assemblywoman Betsy Butler had the money, while Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom had the moral high ground.
This contest is a long-term win for the Republicans and the state. Not in the short-term, in that no Republican is on the ballot, let alone with a fraction of a chance of winning a seat in the region.
However, the cash flow dumped into the Santa Monica Bay, followed by the ongoing allegations that Butler caved on a “teacher pervert” bill because of union interests, have spotlighted the growing fissure in the Democratic Party, an organization which claims to support “the people,” yet every year their platform supports special interests whose interest includes using the public purse for private gain.
Reform Democrats are seeking the higher ground, even if they have fewer campaign dollars. If the Democrats cannot cut their own money strings, disaffected Democratic voters will, casting their votes for the Republican or even the independent in the race.
The 50th Assembly District seat, like the 30th Congressional District tussle between Democrats Howard Berman and Brad Sherman in the Valley, brought out the worst of one-party rule in California. Republicans and Independents have nothing to fear in upcoming elections. The power of one party is waning, and Butler served up the coup de grace.
Arthur Christopher Schaper

Another costly challenge

Re: “No need for ‘brain surgery’ at wetlands” (Argonaut letters, Nov. 1).
Yes, there’s other wildlife and undoubtedly that wildlife will be disturbed during restoration. But that restoration will be performed with the utmost care. And afterwards, we will have a beautifully restored Ballona Wetlands.
I’m not just hoping or supposing. I’ve seen it happen. Some may recall this same argument during the planning for the freshwater marsh.
The freshwater marsh was finally completed and what do we have? A remarkable and beautiful ecosystem that does support threatened and endangered species, provides a passive recreation area for the general public and helps cleanse polluted water that previously was flushed directly into the wetland. It is also meticulously maintained at no cost to the public.
Next was the Malibu Lagoon fiasco. Once again, the same argument – mustn’t touch anything, just leave it as it is. It didn’t work that time, either and I’m sure the Malibu restoration will be another success.
With dogmatic statements and sentimental pleas, the stage is being set for another lawsuit, another waste of time and money.
What makes it worse is that, as in Malibu, you and I will have to pay for it.
Ruth Lansford
Playa del Rey

ID, please

How embarrassing. On page 35 of the Nov. 1 Argonaut there were two photos of this year’s Mar Vista Fall Festival. The bottom photo had a caption mentioning Mar Vista Community Council First Vice President Bill Koontz, and “an unidentified Los Angeles police officer.”
Unidentified? That was Mar Vista Senior Lead Officer Drake Madison. You know, the LAPD community representative for Mar Vista?
Couldn’t The Argonaut have made a phone call to Pacific station and gotten his name? Or asked anyone at the event?
Embarrassing indeed.
Andre’ Belotto

Airport head affirms support for light rail to LAX

In response to your Nov. 8 article “Knabe Requests Strategy for Light Rail Connector to Airport,” I want to assure your readers that Los Angeles World Airports is committed to creating a robust connection between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and L.A.’s Metro rail system.
Let me be very clear – LAX is prepared to offer at least one location for on-airport MTA stations. We believe this is a strong commitment that shows our desire to get light rail into LAX.
We are currently working with all parties involved to create a systematic approach to ensuring that light rail connects to LAX.
LAWA has accelerated our landside planning work to analyze specific airport passenger and employee transportation needs. We have convened a series of workshops to collaborate between Metro and LAWA staff and technical experts to achieve real, detailed and achievable outcomes for consideration by the Metro and LAWA decision-makers.
This will not be accomplished overnight, but LAWA staff and the Board of Airport Commissioners are committed to providing great light rail opportunities into LAX. Improving LAX’s future includes bringing light rail into the airport and any suggestion otherwise is not correct.
Gina Marie Lindsey
Executive Director
Los Angeles World Airports

Another rail option

Instead of waiting eight years for light rail connection to Los Angeles International Airport, might I suggest to you and your readers that we entice the county Board of Supervisors and Los Angeles City Council to simply extend the Green Line one mile to LAX.
This should take about six months in total instead of eight years with additional delays. And this would connect LAX to the Metro rail, which connects not only to the light rail but to the entire city.
Then we could use the savings to connect Long Beach to Santa Clarita through LAX via the 405 freeway over the next eight years.
I think that this is a much better idea and far more cost effective, helping everyone everywhere throughout the entire city for the same price. Finally, the Metro rail would then be complete.
Chuck Tela

No more sales tax

Another sales tax increase? I don’t think so.
Despite the supposed results of a survey funded by the real estate industry, I doubt Los Angeles residents will support yet another sales tax increase after just voting for the governor’s one-quarter cent increase to support public education.
The only conditions under which I consider such an increase is if it will expire after five years, when we can assume property tax revenues will have rebounded with the improving real estate market, and the new sales tax revenue is dedicated solely to services that the city should but does not provide now, such as repair of sidewalks.
Mark Ryavec