The Ballona Wetlands needs less opinion and more objective factual analysis
The March 31 letter from David Kay (Jane Velez-Mitchell and the Ballona Wetlands) continues a decades-long pattern of misinformation being justified by a highly emotional “us against them” approach to what should be a fact-based discussion.
Dr. Kay has never expressed any interest in an objective analysis of the available facts. He is playing the role of a salesperson whose sole objective is for the public to buy what he is selling.
Our organizational approach has been, and continues to be, to help surface all of the relevant facts in the proper context, not only those that we believe support our position that the current restoration plans for Ballona, as designed, would be extremely counterproductive to the long-term health of the wetlands.
Dr. Kay suggests that the proposed plan would benefit Belding’s Savannah Sparrow (BSS), even though the environmental impact analysis unequivocally acknowledges the near-term destruction of existing BSS habitat (see page 603 of the EIR) and, more importantly, the loss of virtually all BSS habitat to sea level rise by the turn of the century (see pages 547 and 275 of the EIR). This is a mind-bogglingly counter-intuitive outcome for a “restoration” project that is priced at $182 million.
When presented with the maps and data showing this concerning outcome, in an open public forum, Dr. Kay had no answer but to suggest that whether or not BSS habitat should be sustainably preserved, or how it might be preserved, is something to be decided later. This is unacceptable to stakeholders who are more concerned with the actual future of this critical wetland ecosystem than with keeping the bond money flowing.
I have invited Dr. Kay to join me in a civil, public discussion at a time and date of his choosing to make and respond to each other’s points on this important subject, and I do so again in this letter.
As one of the organizations who has filed a legal challenge to the project pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act, I also am more than happy to answer any questions the public may have as to why we filed that challenge and why we are confident that it will be successful.
Ballona Wetlands Land Trust
Vista Del Mar stands in support of the AAPI community
Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services has a deep and long-standing commitment to protecting and advocating for children and families, particularly when they are at their most vulnerable, not only for their well-being, but for the stability and security of our greater communities, as well.
As a result, where we see hatred and violence targeting any members of our communities, it is our responsibility to lend the credibility of our voice as advocates to speak out and stand in support.
Vista Del Mar is devastated by the recent acts of violence perpetrated in Georgia targeting community members of Asian descent, as well as the rise in attacks against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
Vista Del Mar stands in solidarity with the AAPI community in declaring that these attacks must end. We reassert our commitment to doing our part as allies by advocating for change in the systems that promote inequality, training a keen eye on amplifying and supporting solutions that address the root causes of the discrimination and inequities that undermine and divide our communities.
More specifically and closer to home, Vista Del Mar will continue to partner with our staff, families and providers of Asian descent to ensure and protect access to spaces and services that are safe, equitable and inclusive.
This is not a new focus, but rather an emphatic restatement of Vista Del Mar’s dedication to equality and justice, and a reminder that we will mindfully and continuously evaluate how we provide services to the most vulnerable around us to ensure that we are living out our commitment to being a community of action and inclusivity.
Lena Wilson, J.D.
Vista Del Mar Child and