The sunset at Venice Beach last Friday. Credit: Kris Dahlin

Re: Cut down on letters, please
No, no, no! Guy Shulman, I find letters usually have material every bit as interesting as articles! Please continue publishing them!
Lisa Edmondson
Los Angeles

The scariest part of Halloween is the dairy industry
Little scares me about Halloween or trick-or-treating. Ghosts, zombies, skeletons and witches have nothing on all the milk ingredients in candy and the frightening truth about the dairy industry.
This is the industry that has spent billions convincing humans that drinking the milk of another species is okay.
This is the industry that feeds millions of dairy cows in favor of feeding starving humans.
This is the industry that creates pastures for dairy cows, which accounts for a substantial reduction of forestland and other wildlife habitats. Add to this that the digestive system of cows discharges large amounts of methane, and their waste discharges nitrous oxide, both contributors to global warming.
This is the industry that perpetually impregnates cows in order to keep them lactating to produce milk meant for their offspring and then kills them off after they are “spent.”
The dairy industry is more frightening than any Halloween nightmare.
But we’re lucky. Our local supermarkets offer a selection of plant-based milks, cheeses and ice creams, as well as a colorful display of fresh fruits and veggies. And the dairy industry reporting slumping sales is just the treat we need this holiday season.
Steve Prosky
Marina del Rey

Mar Vista Community Council leadership’s malfeasance

It is high time the compliant “go along-say nothing” majority of the  Mar Vista Community Council remove the chair!

To not take a stand on shutting the community out of MVCC leadership amounts to malfeasance and lock-step thinking by a body that should demonstrate care and involvement. Our community needs access to sub-committee leadership, public comment and fair counting of votes.

The LA City and County Attorneys, the California FPPC, and most egregiously, the Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) will not act.
It is up to the MVCC  board majority to remove the authoritarian chair. Please do your duty.

Robin Doyno
Former MVCC Board Member, candidate & activist

Re: Ballona Wetlands letter

David Kay’s letter (“Ballona Wetlands Ad”) is not supported by the factual record and recklessly accuses organizations like ours of fiscal malfeasance based purely on innuendo and with no facts.

The Ballona Wetlands Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated with the California secretary of state in 1994. We have a seven-person board of directors and two part-time staff who focus on educational programs and research. I have personally donated tens of thousands of dollars and thousands of volunteer hours to our mission of preserving this critically important ecosystem. We have successfully prevented the construction of two separate special interest projects in the wetlands, at least one of which Mr. Kay supported.

While we are not the organization that placed the ad with which Mr. Kay takes exception, we are one of the four organizations who filed suit to challenge the adequacy of the state’s certified EIR. Mr. Kay has never been able to articulate a coherent response to the substantial project deficiencies outlined in detail in our lawsuit against the project.

One such deficiency is the utter failure of the proposed project to sustain coastal marsh habitat in the face of sea level rise (see the maps on pages 271-275). Instead, his seven-paragraph letter uses empty rhetoric to avoid meaningful discussion of those serious deficiencies. Even the supporters of the project referenced by Mr. Kay acknowledged that the project’s protections for the endangered Belding’s Savannah Sparrow were inadequate.

If our litigation results in a “strengthening of the EIR” (as Mr. Kay words it), that better protects wetland habitats and wildlife in the ecological reserve, then we will consider that a good thing. It is unclear why Mr. Kay thinks that would be a bad thing. We believe our litigation will result in a project that actually protects the wetlands against sea-level rise, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, reduces excess pavement in the reserve, and has a lower cost and timeline for completion, among other things. Instead of disparaging these efforts, Mr. Kay should engage in a constructive discussion of why he opposes such project improvements.

Notably, Mr. Kay’s assertion that the proposed project has somehow “forced the utility to begin closing its wells located on state fish and wildlife property in advance of the wetlands restoration project” is a brazen falsehood that reflects either a lack of knowledge about the easements held by the gas company or, more likely, a total disregard for the facts. The gas company was not “forced” to do this, but rather wants to abandon old wells and drill new wells on their property in order to upgrade their infrastructure and reduce their operating costs.

It is the gas company that has attempted to connect those efforts to the proposed project (including running its own ads in the Argonaut) in order to garner public support for the drilling of new slant wells at a time when their operations in Playa del Rey are being scrutinized locally and in Sacramento. The proposed new slant drilling is described in the EIR (page 259) and is indeed incorporated into the project description. Marketing materials that fail to mention this new drilling do a disservice to the community.

As I have expressed to Mr. Kay many times, I would be more than happy to participate with him in a civil, issues-oriented debate at any time on the merits and shortcomings of the proposed project. However, Mr. Kay has consistently declined my invitations. His purpose is not to inform the public on the objective facts of the project, but rather to sell the project to the public.
People who care about the Ballona Wetlands, and about environmental issues generally, should focus on constructive, fact-based analysis of the project and not get drawn into Mr. Kay’s polarizing, baseless rhetoric.

Walter Lamb
Ballona Wetlands Land Trust