Keep direct mail coming
Re: “Election experts examine feasibility of halting political mailers,” (Argonaut, May 2).
This obsession with some to eliminate direct mail campaign literature is wrong-headed, illegal and probably unconstitutional as well. Direct mail is a multi-billion dollar industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people while providing an effective and tested way to touch consumers as well as voters.
While considered intrusive by some, private firms such as Valpak or Money Mailer not only provide a needed service, but also employ printers, paper distributors, graphic designers, list mail companies as well as providing the United States Postal Service with hundreds of millions in bulk postage revenue.
The direct mail industry both private and political employs the services of good-paying jobs and union shops who depend on this revenue to earn a living.
But more importantly, the frequency employed by the direct mail industry is part of a strategy that works, that gives companies a leg up on the competition as well as serving as a communication vehicle for political candidates of all persuasions.
One of the original intents of the United States Postal Service was to mail information such as newspapers for free. In a time where voters complain about candidates and campaigns, how else can these elected officials and candidates for public office communicate with the voting public?
In a previous Argonaut article, opponents to direct mail campaigns cited Internet and email usage by individuals such as Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl as a viable alternative. What those critics don’t mention is that Rosendahl was a proficient user of direct mail messaging in both of his successful campaigns in 2005 and again in 2009.
In 2013, candidate Mike Bonin (Rosendahl’s chief of staff) who successfully succeeded his boss in Council District 11, was a huge proponent of direct mail as well. In fact the largest expenditure in that race to succeed Rosendahl was on printed, direct mailers to targeted registered voters.
Like telemarketing, which is equally intrusive to many, a “do not call” option is in place for those who don’t want to entertain sales or survey requests during breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are safeguards for consumers who want to avoid such unsolicited mailed activity.
In the case Rowan v. Post Office, prohibitory orders can be requested removing themselves from such direct mail offerings.
Let’s be clear: companies and candidates don’t want to disturb or contact those who have no interest in such solicitations.
The cost of mailings is prohibitive and the return on investment is about two percent in terms of converting prospects into buyers or votes. Political candidates and companies are always looking for faster, cheaper and better ways to communicate with voters and consumers.
One way to satisfy the needs of those who see this as an environmental issue can lobby the Los Angeles City Council to empower the city clerk to create a “do not mail” component on voter registration forms as well as giving voters a way to opt off registration lists that are also used for jury duty.
A “do not mail” component if popular with voters will force candidates to consider other methods of contact such as social media or old fashioned door-to-door campaigning.
There is a fine line between privacy, public information and the industry of direct mail, which is being threatened and maligned to say nothing of the potential lost revenues of the United States Postal Service.
Nicholas J. Antonicello
Venice Beach

Marina visioning process is a ‘sham’
Re: “County officials solicit ideas for new planning vision for the Marina,” (Argonaut, May 2).
The county officials soliciting ideas for a “new” planning vision in Marina del Rey is a sham. This meeting was supposed to cover what the visioning process entailed but failed to identify to the attending residents what parcels were on the table to discuss.
In other words, what parts of the Marina are not in current, long-term contracts with the lessees that our county residents can have input on? Is this just about Burton Chace Park, the Promenade, Mothers Beach, Fisherman’s Village – what areas is the Department of Regional Planning offering input on? Gina Natoli ducked that question twice and eventually muttered in a soft voice that those attending the meeting had to come back for the second meeting to find out what was behind door number 2. The first meeting was a waste of time and a large amount of taxpayer dollars because nobody in the room knew (except county officials and the lessees) what they could have input on.
This “new” process involving public input or disenfranchisement is not new at all. The general theme of the meeting centered around a consistent comment heard from nearly every speaker – the county has taken plenty of public input in the past, but has simply disregarded it. There wasn’t one resident speaker who was in favor of the current or future development plans in the Marina.
For the ever-absent Supervisor Don Knabe to state “I want it to be friendlier to those who live in the neighborhood as well as those who visit the Marina,” it is clear that either a system-wide incompetence has occurred or the public is simply being fooled by its decision-makers. The fact that “those who visit the Marina” are not even being invited to the visioning speaks to the validity of this public process.
The constant decimation of the recreational facility in Marina del Rey and change of its original intent by massing more non-water dependent residential development is clearly not in the interests of the neighborhood, the visitors, the boating residents, our coastal wildlife or the surrounding neighborhoods.
Jon Nahhas
Playa del Rey

Candidate opposition is ‘too little, too late’
Re: “Mayoral hopefuls share views on issues impacting Westside,” (Argonaut, May 2).
And where was any mention of the biggest issue facing Argonaut readers – the Los Angeles International Airport expansion?
Prior to the Los Angeles City Council vote, mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel said she was “undecided” on the north runway proposal, but with her labor backing can we be anything but surprised if she would vote in favor? Candidate Eric Garcetti, thanks for your “no” vote, but it was too little, too late.
Once again, the spend anything to get ephemeral “jobs” crowd has won the day… If you liked the 405 Freeway carpool lane construction, wait till you get to enjoy the Lincoln Boulevard “re-alignment…”
George Ronay

Start with resurfacing of Marina corridor
Re: “County officials solicit ideas for new planning vision for the Marina,” (Argonaut, May 2).
According to the above story Fourth District County Supervisor Don Knabe envisions a boardwalk and electric cars someday in Marina del Rey, among other ideas. No doubt county officials and locals have no shortage of ideas for future development.
Knabe says he hopes that we get some really good ideas.
I respectfully submit that a re-surfacing of Admiralty Way be put on top of the list. Except for a small stretch of said street near the Marina City Club, Admiralty Way is in abysmal/primitive condition.
Just imagine the impression new visitors will get of Marina del Rey as they drive along Admiralty Way.
Dennis Schachter
Mar Vista

Not much left to envision
Re: “County officials solicit ideas for new planning vision for the Marina,” (Argonaut, May 2).
The county’s “planning for a new Marina vision” was recognized as farce by more than 100 residents and boaters. The supervisors have solicited comments and “visions” for
years yet ignored them in order to give away public access and public land to developers.
We are seeing the supervisors’ vision in the new and ugly behemoth on Via Marina, a warren of small but expensive apartments, 544 of them. Two more buildings of equal or greater size have also been envisioned within two blocks of the first one.
One builder, Neptune-Legacy, has been given our park on Parcel FF in order to add 136 apartments to its 500. With this “vision,” residents and visitors will no longer see the water and sail boats that make Marina del Rey so delightful but will have about 2,000 additional cars. Many seniors cannot walk around a boardwalk of Supervisor Don Knabe’s fashioning despite the high property tax we pay.
A superior vision is Los Angeles mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti’s, allowing “people to have a green space close to where they live” and should lead to revocation of the county’s amendment to give away Parcel FF, our funded and promised park within walking distance of the thousands of residences along Via Marina.
Nor do we like the county’s vision of a hotel in the midst of an entirely residential neighborhood on a wetland with a tiny, walk-through park not large enough for recreation or picnics.
How about a few trees, Knabe and Gina Natoli? That’s about all you’ve left us to “envision.” It’s a new give-away of federally mandated recreation, water access, a discarded Local Coastal Program. It’s greed, not green!
Lynne Shapiro
Marina del Rey

Protections for veterans
Re: “Broken promises” (Argonaut letters, May 2).
The letter writer shouldn’t ridicule Rep. Henry Waxman for not showing up at important environmental meetings in his district. He is just too busy helping homeless veterans at the Westwood Veterans Administration facility.
In his 38 years as a United States congressman he’s done everything possible to prevent homeless/medical needing veterans from having a home at the Westwood facility; assisting leases to occur for Brentwood private schools, leases for school athletic fields, golf courses, dog parks, university baseball stadiums, public parking lots for nearby national golf tournaments and assisting 30 1930s-era lobotomy prisons buildings to be declared “historical” so nothing can be touched.
But now things have changed and Waxman and his friend, Sen. Diane Feinstein are very busy renovating Lobotomy Building 209 for $20 million, so 65 homeless veterans can have a home to heal after war. The reason they both are pushing this project is because there’s a lawsuit against the Westwood VA for violating the Deed of 1888 (which created the Westwood VA campus) and the rights of 6,000 to 8,000 homeless veterans for not providing a home.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is handling the lawsuit along with support from the Annenberg Foundation, feels that they can prove the deed has been violated and that both Waxman and Feinstein should have been protecting veterans rather than catering to nearby wealthy homeowner communities.
Personally, I’m disappointed that the $20 million couldn’t be spent more efficiently. At over $300,000 per veteran at #209, a “Tent City” could be created for 1,000 veterans with beds, showers, barbers, health care review and maybe some job opportunities direction.
So letter writer, I’m sorry, but #209 needs to be finished before the lawsuit gets ruled on. Westwood VA needs to prove that they’re obeying the deed and taking care of all those homeless vets.
David Bischoff
Los Angeles