A cause for secession

Re: “South Mar Vista homeowners contemplate seceding from Los Angeles” (Argonaut, Aug. 16).

I am all for south Mar Vista breaking away and seeking better vistas elsewhere. Since when did being a wealthy enclave entitle a larger city to pilfer their property values then lower them in the same throw?

The Empire of Los Angeles just takes and takes tax revenue then spends and spends it on the most inane of projects, yet the roads in West L.A. remain ensnarled with traffic and full of potholes. The city of Los Angeles blocks the building of local charter schools, then deprives members of their right to use plastic bags, then haggles over outrageous pension obligations which should have been dispensed with years ago.

Perhaps the members of the Mar Vista homeowners association should take advantage of the growing budget woes that won’t budge in downtown. The city is more likely than not unprepared for another lawsuit. Mar Vista breaks away, with the San Fernando Valley soon to follow. Maybe even San Pedro and Wilmington will rethink their connection and reinstate their move to break away from L.A.

On another note, I am saddened to read that Councilman Bill Rosendahl is suffering from cancer. As a member of the Mar Vista community, he should support secession of the Westside area and its annexation with nearby Culver City. While he is healing from physical cancer, he can help excise the excessive cancer of centralized government eating away at the coffers of the Mar Vista community.

Arthur C. Schaper, Torrance

Issues driving secession not isolated to Mar Vista

Re: “South Mar Vista homeowners contemplate seceding from Los Angeles” (Argonaut, Aug. 16).

Talk of secession by Mar Vista homeowners is a symptom of a fundamentally broken government provided by the city of Los Angeles.

Neighborhoods like Mar Vista see little return in terms of good schools, excellent services or a quality of life that matches the home values and cost of living in Southern California.

Grumblings of broken government aren’t limited to just Mar Vista, but larger communities such as Venice Beach that struggle with a detached and distant city government that just doesn’t get it.

Compounding the questionable city services are the broken promises of solving the issue of homelessness in a way that brings people together, not the continental divide that currently exists on and near the boardwalk. The situation regarding homelessness is so divided and ugly that the upcoming Venice Neighborhood Council elections will provide an interesting stage for this chaotic issue.

For it’s easy to compare and contrast the bloated, big government of Los Angeles versus the more efficient and responsive small governments in places such as Santa Monica, Torrance, Beverly Hills or any of the beach cities south of Los Angeles International Airport. For these communities offer a sense of home rule, that what residents think actually matters.

For Los Angeles to work, we need comprehensive and structural reform of how L.A. governs:

Expand the size of the Los Angeles City Council from 15 to 30 members. Expansion of the size of the council will bring downtown closer to residents and force greater accountability.

Give neighborhood councils the teeth to govern and provide them with the authority to resolve land use, planning and zoning issues that are currently scattered about the various agencies and commissions.

Force city government to construct two-year budgets and place a mandatory, no waiver “hard cap” on city expenditures.

Eliminate the directly elected Board of Education and have the mayor nominate school members with the advice and consent of the City Council.

Have the positions of city attorney and controller appointed by the mayor versus directly elected by voters.

In effect, scale back the bureaucracy by forcing Los Angeles to be fiscally responsible by having the proper funding mechanisms in place so that services and solutions trump the politics and inefficiency that currently dictates public policy.

Nick Antonicello, Venice Beach

Better options than Venice Post Office

We have a brand new post office in Venice, but I won’t be going there because it has the same problem as the old post office. The streets ringing the property are absolutely filthy. I walked my dog past the front door of the new location going west toward the beach.

The sidewalk is torn up and the open pit is full of broken bottles, dog feces, discarded food containers, clothing, etc. Along the chain link fence is more debris, plus paper bags sticking to the fence, a thick layer of needles from the overgrown fur (pine?) trees, and the bougainvillea vines are reaching out over the sidewalk.

I always avoided the old Venice Post Office because the area looked derelict, the sidewalks were dirty and the bus benches collected trash underneath. I guess I’ll still be going to Santa Monica or Mar Vista where they seem to know how to tend to their property.

Karen Jones, Venice

Puff piece on food ignores discrimination ruling

Re: Food and Drink column (Argonaut, Aug. 16).

When you wrote the headline “Poise and glamour never felt so inviting or affordable” for the Food and Drink section – writing about Santa Monica’s Shangri-La Hotel – did you mean to add “…except for the Jews?”

Because I can’t really believe that a local newspaper, professing to report on the greater Westside, would write a column extolling the virtues of the Shangri-La’s smoked chicken empanadas and barbeque beef sliders one day after a jury found the hotel guilty of discriminating against Jews during a charity event in July 2010.

The owner reportedly yelled “Get the [expletive] Jews out of my pool!” and forced the party to pack up and leave, after finding out that 18 young leaders of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces were holding a charity event at the hotel to help children of fallen IDF soldiers go to summer camp, according to court testimony. The jury awarded $1.6 million in total to the group, after finding that nearly all of the plaintiffs suffered negligent or intentionally inflicted emotional distress.

That you would ignore this actual news story in favor of a puff piece on “gastronomy cocktails” and “arancini-risotto fitters” says much about the quality of your newspaper. I encourage you to write a note about the case in your next edition.

Jeremy Ziskind, Los Angeles

Don’t blame the airport

Re: Santa Monica Airport.

One can only wonder what people were thinking when they bought houses near the airport. One also has to wonder what city officials were thinking when they granted building permits so close.

Anyway, in the years 2005-10, I believe that there were no fatalities on the ground from plane crashes in the immediate airport area.

During that same time Santa Monica reportedly had 16 murders. Thus, you are much more likely to be murdered here than to die from a plane striking you.

Santa Monicans – where are your priorities? And, please, don’t say the airport contributes nothing. The hundreds of employees, users and patrons all contribute a significant amount, which city officials do not want to tabulate.

Finally, I can’t believe someone actually advocated closing the airport and building a pot farm.

Jack Keady, Playa del Rey

Funding a gift

For the city of Santa Monica to expect the family of the late Paul Conrad to raise all the needed funds to restore his iconic – and now landmarked – Chain Reaction sculpture, which he gifted to the city, is like asking the French government to fund the ongoing maintenance of the Statue of Liberty, which they gifted to America.

Jerry Rubin, Santa Monica