First day of autumn at Venice jetty. Credit: Kris Dahlin

Animal advocate, celebrity matchmaker
Rock on, George Cervantes! Loved the article and the  call to action for joining shelter volunteers.

But George, did you mean your list of impounded animals to be a really short list? Rabbits are the #3 most populous animal at LAAS, but not at Santa Monica?
Lisa Edmondson
Los Angeles

Solutions for drug addiction
America, once and for all, drugs are a medical problem. We need medical solutions, long term! Medical interventions such as administering Naloxone to an overdose victim are important, but the follow-up is crucial. After waking from a Naloxone shot, the person’s personal belongings are gathered up and off to detox and rehab she or he goes. Needle exchange programs will be eliminated or at least phased out until detox and rehab are universally available.

We must have universal free and low-cost facilities to house thousands of addicts. Yes, this is mandatory. How about underused military bases being repurposed for treating addicts? Medical not criminal solutions are a must. Also, big pharma must be compelled to provide low cost long term medical treatments for drug addicts.
Angus MacDonald
Culver City

My take on the MVCC
In the most recent Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) election, I backed the “Stand Up for Mar Vista” slate. I did so because I believed its stance on the major issues facing Mar Vista closely aligned with those of the community; I still do. People want accountability from their city leaders and they want safe, clean neighborhoods. That’s a basic right that everyone deserves. As a former board member and chairman for three years, I am very familiar with a broad spectrum of the Mar Vista community and understand what matters most to stakeholders.

The “Mar Vista for All” slate had no understanding of what a Neighborhood Council (NC) is empowered to do. In addition to supporting Councilmember Mike Bonin’s vision to house homeless individuals at Mar Vista Recreation Center, Westchester Park and the Venice Beach parking lot, ideas like solar panels for all, free public transit, affordable housing for everyone, and dual plumbing systems have nothing to do with the role of an NC. They had the entirely wrong vision for Mar Vista, which is why that slate was so decisively defeated. However, having the wrong vision doesn’t mean that “Mar Vista for All” is wrong about everything.

Recently, I received the inaugural copy of the “Mar Vista Voice” put out by many who ran as part of the “Mar Vista for All” slate. One particular article, entitled “Mar Vista Community Council Eliminates Committees and Bars Community Leadership,” caught my eye. It stated “… in a move unprecedented in the Council’s history, Chair Wheeler and other members of the “Stand Up for Mar Vista” slate voted against the long-standing tradition of appointing community members to committee leadership.” I wholeheartedly and absolutely agree. This move was indeed unprecedented and contrary to what a Neighborhood Council is supposed to be.

Committee appointments are always a delicate balancing act. In my three years as MVCC Chairman, I made three sets. I made changes to committee leadership that I thought better aligned with the views and the priorities of the community. I re-appointed some committee leaders, I declined to re-appoint others, and I brought in many faces that had never been seen before. I re-structured committees by eliminating some and creating others. I worked to establish committees whose members reflect the diverse makeup and views of the community. However, the most important thing is that I never – not once – broadly excluded ordinary stakeholders.

Quite the contrary, I went out of my way to include them in the hope that those folks would become more deeply involved in the workings of their community. I even appointed nearly all the candidates who ran in the 2019 MVCC election but fell short of winning seats.  At times it worked and at times it didn’t but – at all times – it was the right thing to do. There are so many community members who have the expertise and passion to contribute to a committee, but not the time to commit to full time board membership. Why would a group of committed community leaders actively choose to exclude other valuable members of the community? It serves only to alienate and disenfranchise Mar Vista stakeholders!

What Ms. Wheeler – with the overwhelming support of the MVCC Board of Directors – did was wrong … full stop. Though the “Stand Up for Mar Vista” slate scored an impressive victory in the recent elections, that victory must not be seen as carte blanche authority to run roughshod over the community nor to silence opposing voices; it is no such thing.

Fortunately, there’s still time to correct this. I call on Ms. Wheeler and the MVCC Board of Directors to right this terrible wrong.
Elliot Hanna
Former chairman,
Mar Vista Community Council