A Watershed Moment

Re: “A Wave of Opportunity,” News, March 5

As a longtime Marina del Rey resident and ocean advocate I was well pleased to read the article about the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation’s increased attention on ocean research and protection through advanced technology such as the BlueROV2 — a very cool tiny robot!

Our marina has been growing and developing very quickly over the last couple of years, and we need new technology, increased public awareness and more research into keeping our oceans healthy, ocean-based renewable energy, and sustainable fishing practices.

Clarissa Cervantes

Marina del Rey

More Wag, Less Bark

A Message from the Spring into Kindness “Paw It ‘Fore’ward” Campaign

“What is your personal motto?” was the final question posed to Democratic presidential candidates during the South Carolina debate on Feb. 25. Answers included bible verses and unmemorable replies. My request “fore” political candidates is to champion kindness. Those who throw dirt lose ground.

Spring de Haviland

Spring Into Kindness,

Santa Monica

Tribalism Hinders Solutions to Homelessness

Jelani Cobb, the Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University, explains the hidden unwanted consequences of current Republican political perspectives. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s blocking of Merrick Garland and the Republican blocking of Trump’s impeachment, cautions Cobb, are examples of short-sighted, immediate gratification for political gain that may create long-term problems for the party rather than laying
the foundation of a wise, long-term vision that strengthens
our democracy.

On a more local scale, I hear Cobb’s words echoing through our community discussing the tragedy of homelessness, a problem creating difficulties in daily life for everyone. Discussions in civic meetings and on Facebook seem to be stuck in an “us vs. them” mentality, putting the responsibility on the police to keep the city safe and clean by simply removing people from
the streets.

Where do we put people who have no homes? Do we fill jails with homeless individuals?

People who have no homes, in essence, have no visible options to lift themselves out of squalor. Homeless encampments are attempts to find some form of normality for people who see no other way out. Yes, these encampments become environments that cultivate illness, drug use, thievery, and abusive behavior endangering encampment inhabitants and those who come in contact with them. No one wants this. But as Cobb so clearly outlines, some problems do not have simple solutions, and if we do not have a long view we create indelible harm implementing short-sighted solutions.

Missing from the discussions are compassion and an understanding of homelessness as a hallmark of entrenched community and societal trends. We must seek the hidden cause and effect that demands unearthing and clarifying rather than simply erasing the evidence of a society that is not working well for everyone.

We will not solve these problems with simple approaches and finger pointing. Homelessness is a societal reality that is with us, like it or not. It lives side by side, in our community, with the beauty of the mountains and ocean and rising home values.
To frame the solutions as simply “cleaning the streets” is to lose our long view of our basic humanity.

I know people are frustrated and scared and the discussions are needed. But we need larger discussions. We need citywide examinations of the problem from a pool of city, state and local leaders, constituents, medical staff, and scholars to both salvage our humanity and create solutions of a real and difficult problem. We need homelessness conferences on a large scale.

If we don’t command our compassion as part of the solution, we all lose.

Wendy Zacuto

Playa del Rey