Interpretive center ‘green-washing’
Re: “Clarifying the plans for interpretive center” (Argonaut letters, March 21).
Mr. Leonard Aube, executive director of the Annenberg Foundation, wrote to “set the record straight” and to “clarify the information” in response to the article, “Nature center presentation removed from council agenda” (Argonaut, March 14). I found his response to be misleading.
I attended the Del Rey Neighborhood Council Planning and Land Use Committee meeting March 6 and saw Aube’s presentation about the Annenberg proposed conceptual “interpretive center.” Following the presentation, Aube appeared very surprised, overwhelmed, and in no way prepared to answer to a very well-informed opposition of local residents and longtime protectors of the Ballona Wetlands who knew too many facts concerning this destructive project to be fooled by his green-washed presentation. This most likely sent Annenberg back to the drawing board to revamp their presentation and would explain why they declined to make their scheduled presentation to the full council the following week.
It is my understanding that Annenberg has now hired the same public relations firm that once represented Playa Vista. It is misleading to call this project simply an “interpretive center,” “nature center” or “Urban Ecology Visitor Center” because the truth is that Annenberg’s primary goal is allegedly to build a domestic animal care center for dogs and cats.
Apparently, the “interpretive” elements of the center are being promoted and the animal shelter is being downplayed to make this obvious abuse of the Ballona Wetlands reserve, a public resource, seem palatable to an unsuspecting public. In my opinion, a domestic animal shelter is a noble cause, but it does not belong in the Ballona Ecological Reserve.
Aube states that the proposed site location “Area C South is not considered wetland habitat.” This is very misleading to your readers as to the importance of this area. I have also heard project supporters describe Area C as nothing more than a vacant lot covered by weeds. The truth is that Area C is crucial upland habitat that is vital to the health of the overall ecosystem and supports many species of birds, plants and other wildlife.
Aube also seems to be trying to downplay the size and scope of this project. A 46,000 square foot building is huge!
This manipulation of the truth regarding many “facts” concerning this project is the very definition of “green-washing” and I would think it beneath the Annenberg’s reputation. Ballona is a unique and critical ecosystem and deserves far better than this destructive development arrangement.
After so many have worked so hard, for so long to preserve this land from development, I never would have imagined that it would be the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Annenberg Foundation trying to put buildings here.
The Del Rey Neighborhood Council meets Thursday, April 11 at 7 p.m. at the Del Rey Square senior living apartment complex, 11976 Culver Blvd., Del Rey.
A motion to oppose the Annenberg Ballona Creek restoration project in its entirety with a letter to appropriate authorities stating: “We, the Del Rey Neighborhood Council hereby oppose the Annenberg Ballona Creek Restoration project in its entirety” (submitted by Peter Hsu) is on the agenda. The public is welcome to attend the meeting and voice any comments or concerns.
Tammy Andrews
Playa del Rey

Slamming beach bonfire ban
Re: “Dockweiler Beach bonfires could be extinguished under countywide ban” (Argonaut, April 4).
I was appalled to read about the South Coast Air Quality Management District staff proposal to ban bonfires at Los Angeles County beaches including Dockweiler Beach in Playa del Rey. Really?
Is the bonfire smoke that concentrated? Is there a bonfire cancer epidemic happening now? Dockweiler is a “state” beach, and that means people pay for the privilege of bonfires.
Residential area? Dockweiler is not like Manhattan Beach, (the Strand) where the houses would actually be directly affected by smoke. This proposal is ridiculous, and I have a message for AQMD: If you guys were really serious about air pollution, you would spend more time and energy with the excess of vehicles on our streets or the El Segundo refinery.
Stephen Moore