Groupthink is Hurting Ballona

Re: “It’s a Ballona Superbloom,” News, April 27

Coverage of the Ballona Wetlands is always appreciated by wetlands advocates, and helping the public distinguish between beauty and ecological benefit is important. However, The Argonaut seems to have limited its sources for articles on Ballona to entities with a shared point of view, and that deprives readers of important factual context.

For instance, readers should understand that the full restoration of the ecological reserve is not just many years behind schedule, but also still many years away as the project team must finalize planning, obtain numerous permits, and then seek significant funding. In 2005, multiple state agencies commissioned an “Interim Stewardship and Access Management Plan” for Ballona, which recommended that the agencies “continue and expand invasive species removal efforts by Ballona Wetlands Land Trust” and other entities.

Instead, access has been cut off to the Land Trust and other organizations that have questioned various management decisions. Addressing invasive species requires an approach that leverages resources from all stakeholder groups, not just a chosen few.

Last year, The Argonaut published an article about a project to remove invasive iceplant. I participated in that effort as a volunteer and I’m still hopeful that it will achieve the desired results. But hope and scientific probability are very different things, and the project site has not responded well so far, with roughly 10 new species of invasive plant filling in the areas from which iceplant was removed.

Rather than a polarized discussion about whether the project was good or bad, we need to start engaging in more substantive discussions that recognize the complexity of restoration efforts. Should native container plantings have been employed soon after the iceplant removal to combat non-native invasion? Was it wise to prohibit spot weeding during the growing season? These are some of the questions that get lost in the public relations narrative.

We hope that The Argonaut will continue its coverage of the Ballona Wetlands, but we also hope the paper will seek out perspectives and facts from a broader range of sources.

Walter Lamb
Ballona Wetlands Land Trust


Please Keep the Crossword!

Re: Online-Only Crossword Puzzle, April 27

We so missed the crossword puzzle last week! We are glad it’s back, but bummed that it’s set on the horizontal. I hope that’s temporary. It’s great to be able to fold the paper when the crossword is on the vertical. You can see the clues and the heft of the pages underneath is perfect for writing on.

I can’t believe I’m writing about the crossword, but after the second week I realize what an important part of our household ritual it has become.

Karen Wolfe


Re: “A Proxy War for LAUSD,” News, May 11

Commodification of children is exactly what we will get with the proliferation of charters favored by Nick Melvoin, who apparently has never seen a charter he won’t support. They are not accountable and not transparent, and Melvoin has said on the record that he’s fine with that by opposing legislation that would put charters and traditional public schools on an equal regulatory and accountability footing.

LAUSD has made progress under Steve Zimmer, and he believes we are saturated with charters, whereas Melvoin is happy to see them multiply without limit and, again, without sufficient oversight. The billionaires are spending tons of money to see Melvoin elected, and they are not interested in improving public education — to the contrary, they want to decimate it, and they see Melvoin as their tool to get that done.

Ira L. Gottlieb

Zimmer has grudgingly gone along with charters because they are legal public schools. He and a majority of the present board voted last month to use district resources to support legislation at the state level that is anti-charter. That vote was an all-out act of war on charters, and it is a stupid use of district resources. Your kids might be thriving in that sea of mediocrity known as LAUSD, but many families want more for kids in our district.

Tracy TC Conyers