Bernie Knows How to Draw a Crowd

Re: “It’s Called Giving a Damn: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders plant seeds of revolution on Venice Beach,” Cover Story, Dec. 26

Kudos to The Argonaut for colorfully covering Bernie’s recent appearance — and that of AOC, Councilman Bonin, Cornell West, Tim Robbins and others. That’s more than the LA Times did!

As anyone who was there at Windward Avenue and the Venice Boardwalk could attest, the crowd was enormous, intense and enthralled. If the turnout is any indication, and I think it is, Sanders is headed to a big victory in the March California Democratic Primary. Every SoCal Bernie rally he has headlined this campaign, and last — from Samohi to East L.A. and to Venice — has drawn throngs of people. Now the task is to see their presence in votes. A seasoned Bernie volunteer operation is sweeping through the state to get out the vote.

Bernie has been a regular here in Southern California so much, that he is almost a local — and could very well be the 46th president of the United States.

Andrew Liberman

Santa Monica

The Battle for Ballona Begins

Re: “It’s Back to the Future for Ballona Restoration Effort,” News, Dec. 26

The EIR milestone attained for Ballona, after 18 years of dedicated effort by scores of volunteers, environmental scientists, planners and engineers, marks the next phase for this extraordinary, long-delayed project. The project’s significantly beneficial wildlife habitat expansion, reversing damage from a past flood channel, Marina and freeway construction, is surpassed only by the ten miles of new bike and foot trails proposed for the enjoyment of people.

Two point eight million of us live within driving distance of Ballona and 85,000 commute through it on Lincoln Boulevard every work day. We’ll all benefit physically and emotionally by gazing across what will be the second largest public open space natural area in Los Angeles — second only to Griffith Park.

The next phase — litigation by a vocal minority opposed to this Great Park — is part of our process to perfect the plan, and we’ll prevail. Let’s continually remind our elected representatives that we want the Ballona Restoration. It’s a very big deal. David W. Kay, D. Env.

Playa Vista

Re: “It’s Back to the Future for Ballona Restoration Effort,” News, Dec. 26

I am totally against the new plan and any bulldozing! If any changes are to be made, people who are experts on this area and sincerely care about it (unlike the Bay Foundation!), like the Ballona Institute, should be consulted.

Decisions should be made with wildlife in mind, not politics! This new plan will not protect the wetlands, it will destroy it!

Anne Kirkpatrick

Marina del Rey

Re: “It’s Back to the Future for Ballona Restoration Effort,” News, Dec. 26

Those against the Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project ignore that the wetlands’ habitat was disrupted and virtually destroyed in the 1960s when it became the dumping grounds for the dredged sediment from the creation of Marina del Rey, and was converted into a freshwater marsh. What has not been a part of the discussion is the health threat to the public of maintaining the freshwater marsh, which is a natural breeding ground for mosquitos that have ravaged the area for many years.

A bit of history: three people died from the neurological complications of West Nile virus in October 2015, within a mile of where I live in Venice. Others have succumbed since. After discussing this with Councilman Bonin in January 2016, he was remiss in dealing with it. Then in April 2016, I was stricken with WNV and am still in recovery.

For the protection of the public, the Ballona Wetlands must be returned to the original brackish and saltwater marshes as before the Marina del Rey project. With global warming in our own backyard, mosquito-borne diseases are returning to the public health arena. We need an effective vector control program that eliminates the freshwater breeding grounds for mosquitos that includes our own backyards. We need an effective public health program as a constant reminder that we are all vulnerable to environmental diseases. We must not be blindsided by Luddites who ignore or deny the present danger to the public.

Jerome P. Helman, M.D.


P.S. I am a physician who has lived in Venice for 20 years. I originally joined the Marina del Rey Hospital in 1975 (then known as Marina Mercy Hospital).