LMU parking frustration
Re: “Twenty-first century vision for LMU” (Argonaut, April 11).
Loyola Marymount University’s parking lots (the 80th Street lot and University Hall) have literally hundreds of empty spaces on school days while our streets are jammed.
When president David Burcham says LMU is trying their best to mitigate any kind of effect that charging for parking will have on the neighborhood, that’s a little disingenuous since the university created the problem.
It’s like someone who sets your house on fire and then offers you water. Forgive me for not mustering the praise expressed by the others you interviewed.
When Burcham says that he pledges to continue working with the university’s neighbors, he means he will continue doing exactly nothing. I don’t doubt that he worries about the issue, but not out of empathy for his neighbors. The fact is LMU has taken no action to alleviate the situation.
I have met with Clarence Griffin; I have sent him photos of empty LMU parking lots and jammed neighborhood streets; I attended the neighborhood meeting; I’ve written to and met with Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s office; I’ve written to the City Attorney’s Office.
The university has done exactly nothing in response, so Burcham’s “pledge” is nothing more than pandering. He claims empathy because he lives near California State University-Long Beach. Did he happen to mention if his home had ample street parking when he moved in, and his “neighbor” effectively stole it from him?
LMU touts their offer to pay for permit parking. Why didn’t they wait until the permit signs were up to change their policy? Why didn’t they poll the neighborhood first to see if we wanted permit parking?
The answer is money. At the neighborhood meeting in February, the university’s vice president of community relations, Kathleen Flanagan, stated that the
revenue stream created by the parking fees was necessary to secure the bond issue for the life sciences building. So when Burcham says he cares, it’s not the neighbors he cares about, it’s money.
We’re not being unreasonable. LMU has the parking spots, but they won’t let their students and workers use them. We understand the revenue stream; they can add the parking fees into the tuition and the problem is solved. This is the way it was when I attended LMU in the 1990s, so there is precedent, and it worked.
Despite the existence of an easy solution, LMU is intransigent. Burcham met with Rosendahl on April 3 at City Hall and said the city cannot force LMU to change their policy, so LMU won’t change it. Then when he is interviewed by the newspaper, he says he is working with us.
He knows there’s a problem, he knows people are upset; he has the power to easily fix it, and he won’t.
I also did not think I’d be spending this much time on parking issues, Mr. Burcham. You made your bed; now lie in it.
Dan Coyle

Respecting the original inhabitants
Thank you for your ongoing coverage regarding our precious remaining wildlife area of the Ballona Wetlands.
I also want to make the point that the part of Ballona that the Annenberg Foundation wants to build on was a registered “sacred site” of the Tongva indigenous people of Los Angeles before the state of California bought it.
The Tongva people have been living in this area for 10,000 years. Almost all of their sacred sites, including the Ballona West Bluff, have been destroyed through development.
They deserve respect for the few remaining undeveloped parts of Sa’angna (the Ballona Wetlands).
Kathy Knight

Equal taxpayer rates
Re: “Clarifying Prop 13 effects” (Argonaut letters, April 18).
The letter writer who purported to clarify Prop. 13 is either too young to recall reasonable tax rates in the 1960s and 70s or she is the owner of commercial property that has been well protected by the proposition.
After living in a $50,000 Brentwood home for 25 years and paying very reasonable taxes, I bought a condo in the post-Prop. 1980s. My property tax has gone up 2 percent each year regardless of whether its value has increased or declined. I now pay $6,000 a year for 1,400 square feet.
Friends who kept homes that are now worth a million dollars or more are still paying 1970s-taxes along with commercial establishments for whom this legislation was really crafted.
It is time to establish equally fair rates for all, especially for first-time owners who are raising young families. If the Los Angeles International Airport expansion reduces the value of our post-Prop. 13 properties, we will still be paying the 2 percent increase every year.
Lynne Shapiro
Marina del Rey

You can’t ‘bamboozle’ us
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham states, “We hope this (interpretive) center will become a place where community members can come to learn how nature works . . . .” Really?
Bonham’s statement is reminiscent of Sen. Rand Paul’s recent attempt to inform Howard University students about African-American history. Many of the Del Rey neighborhood residents have lived adjacent to the Ballona Wetlands for decades, and they already know how nature works. They know that building on a natural habitat, even a degraded one, is not how nature works. It is how nature is destroyed.
The Annenberg Foundation keeps postponing their presentation to the Del Rey residents because they discovered that the community members are too knowledgeable about the Ballona Wetlands to be bamboozled.
Frances Longmire
Del Rey

Off with the billboards
Re: “For Clear Channel and CBS Outdoors, it’s time to turn off the lights” (Argonaut, April 18).
I agree with Clear Channel spokesman David Graybert that the digital billboards can affect public safety and impact the community but not in the way he thinks.
When the billboard at the intersection of Lincoln and Washington boulevards was erected many years ago my foremost thought was, “great, one more thing to distract drivers!”
Turning the billboards off increases public safety by having one less distraction on the roads, which in turn benefits the community.
Anna M. McGuirk
Playa del Rey