The difference between blight and street furniture

Re: “Mayoral race brings topic of street furniture back into public focus” (Argonaut, March 7).
There is a disturbing disconnect between the transportation needs of the working poor and those who arbitrarily view “street furniture” as a blight to Venice Beach.
For the most part, people of financial means do not use public transportation here in Los Angeles. It’s not like the mass transportation systems of other urban centers such as New York City, Philadelphia or Chicago, where a greater part of the population view subway or bus ridership as critical to getting from one place to another.
In the case of Venice, the CBS/Decaux bus shelters that populate Lincoln Boulevard are critical to riders to avoid the scorching sun or other inclement weather. Those who suggest street furniture as a “visual blight” are condescending to say the least, and offer no alternative for these shelters that would need to be absorbed financially by the cash-strapped, city of Los Angeles.
These critics of private bus shelters fail to realize the commerce they create for advertisers as well as the revenue for a municipality seemingly insolvent and unresponsive to riders.
For what is the harm of creating advertising opportunities for a local business to purchase? The problem is not the shelters. The problem is a dysfunctional city government unable to collect $23 million rather than having to fork out the same for a service the private sector is more than willing to subsidize.
And what about bus riders here in Venice? Are we to only construct metal benches that are uncomfortable and do not shelter the rider from the elements? Do any of these so-called critics ride the Big Blue Bus that accommodates those who do not have a car such as UCLA students, seniors and others who don’t earn enough to travel via private vehicles?
Instead of promoting public transportation in a serious and sober fashion, these limousine liberals have a disjointed and obtuse view of the world when they haven’t spent a day in the shoes of those who actually ride buses all of the time.
Furthermore, the red tape bureaucracy of having a bus shelter apply for a California Coastal Commission permit is not only ridiculous, but part and parcel a primary failure of a city that can’t get out of its own way. What about the riders I see Monday through Friday that congregate by the dozens on street corners during rush hour just seeking a reasonable transit experience? Where are these blight fighters attempting to make mass transit far more friendly for these riders?
While our lame duck city councilman complains about a lack of revenue from one side of his mouth while critical of the number of these shelters on the other, he seems to have no problem with the amount of abandoned furniture that populates the Venice Beach Boardwalk all of the time. Where is the public policy rationale to such an idiotic point-of-view that street furniture at the beach is just fine?
Let me get this straight: shelters that serve as places for transit riders to populate in dignity while waiting for a bus ride to school or work are considered a blight, while those who leave broken chairs, tents, garbage and other personal objects all along the Venice Boardwalk need to be tolerated and conveniently swept under the rug as part of life at the beach here in Venice? What am I missing here? Where is the representation residents deserve?
Nick J. Antonicello
Venice Beach

Campaign reflections

It is with tremendous gratitude that I move forward today – gratitude for the people now in our family’s life, for the knowledge I’ve acquired, and for the opportunity to participate in our democratic process.
Over the past six months, I was permitted nearly unfettered access to our community and its people as we engaged in thousands of conversations on thousands of doorsteps, sidewalks, restaurants and street corners.
Thank you to all of the people who invested their time and money in our campaign. Everything in life is more successful, effective, and far reaching when it comes from a community of people, and I am honored to say that we were blessed with the insights and efforts of some very amazing people.
I wish to send my congratulations to Mike Bonin. His success is a direct result of tremendous focus, patience and insight while employing shrewd strategy and ample resources in his campaign to win this 11th District City Council position. I personally admire his efforts to win and believe that our community will blossom under his hand if his actions on council are even one-tenth what he showed during the campaign.
I voiced many criticisms during our campaign and hold no regrets for those because they’re rooted in honest issues that have plagued our community too long. But now that the choice has been made and our complaints heard it’s time for our community to support our new council member’s efforts to help bring consensus back to our community.
Winston Churchill once infamously said, “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
As a culture, we have come to a point in history where partisan battles never cease and the result is a perpetual state of politicking – a culture of government that is constantly posturing and that allows no room for compromise or progress.
Bonin’s desire to serve is earnest and I urge anyone who supported the tenets of my campaign to come together and help him serve us. We have a potentially powerful council member representing us. Moving forward, let’s remember that his successes are now our successes.
As for me, I will regroup, dissect our successes and failures from this campaign, and march forward with more insight and experience into the next challenge – knowing how wonderful the people in my community are.
Odysseus Bostick

Airport tower lag nothing new

Re: “Tower power could go out in April” (Argonaut, March 7).
The article concerning possible Santa Monica Airport tower closure due to the sequester seems to imply that non-tower operation would be a difficult transition for Santa Monica Airport. It should be realized that the airport operates as a non-tower airport every day, after the tower closes for the night.
The tower operates at the airport every day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The airport is open for non-tower departures and arrivals from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. At that time, the night curfew imposes a ban on departures. Arrivals are permitted 24/7, although discouraged during curfew hours.
So a transition from tower to non-tower operations would mean extending the night non-tower period to cover the entire day from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. All pilots receive training in using non-towered airports and are familiar with non-tower procedures.
We note in passing that airport detractor Martin Rubin has created a new airport aspersion, “VIP back-seat flying,” presumably in order to keep his group’s enmity warm.
Walter Davie
Mar Vista

The waiting game

The NIMBYs trying to close Santa Monica Airport need to be reminded every once in a while that there are only two methods likely to succeed. They are to repay the tens of millions of dollars the Federal Aviation Administration has spent on the facility now, or to wait until the strings attached to the funding run out in 2015.
Congress is unlikely to make a gift of those funds to Santa Monica in these times so the Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution should stop whining and wait until 2015. Of course there’s also the problem that the municipal body politic may not view closure of the airport the way CRAAP does, but that’s life.
Ian B. MacLure
El Segundo