Venice Beach needs leaders, a plan
Re: “Venice balks at boardwalk blockades,” news, Oct. 31
The Venice Town Hall meeting on the future of Oceanfront Walk was in many ways disappointing and short-sighted, and in some ways politically scripted.
Rather than an honest and open-ended discussion on what needs to be done, what I witnessed was a hybrid of city agencies paying homage to the political leadership rather than offering true solutions to what is the most important issue facing this community.
For starters, the lack of leadership at Venice Beach is singularly the biggest challenge that will prevent real change. With no one whose job it is to ensure the day-to-day management of this international destination, the prospect of finding a better direction is hopeless.
A world class city like Los Angeles needs to protect an international venue and revenue-generating asset like Venice Beach. That just isn’t the case, and that’s disturbing.
For several months I have corresponded with the Venice Neighborhood Council, the 11th District City Council office and Los Angeles County as to who is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the grassy knolls that separate the bike path from Oceanfront Walk. The question remains unanswered.
What is needed and what wasn’t addressed is a comprehensive action plan to remediate these knolls as soon as possible. This capital infusion of resources and funding isn’t cosmetic, but a multi-million dollar investment required if Oceanfront Walk is to prosper.
Would the City of New York allow Central Park to become a virtual slum?
Would New Orleans allow Bourbon Street to become unsafe and threaten this revenue-generating venue crucial to its bottom-line?
So why does Los Angeles allow Venice Beach to deteriorate despite its importance to this regional economy?
Venice Beach needs someone in charge, someone ultimately responsible. A real maintenance program needs to be implemented to keep restrooms clean, open and safe. The boardwalk needs to be power-washed, cleaned and maintained. Venice needs a reasonable public safety presence and a detailed blueprint needs to become a community-involved process.
Enough time has passed with no results. Political leadership needs to find a backbone and do what is necessary to change the course of Venice Beach.
Nick Antonicello

Pot shop a bad fit for Mar Vista
Re: “Venice should chill out about medical pot,” letters, Oct. 31
It is a shame you could not attend the Mar Vista stakeholders meeting regarding the prospect of a new medical marijuana dispensary. You would have seen first hand, as I did, many pro-Proposition D voters stating that this is just not a good location for a medical marijuana store. The fact is the location does not comply with the regulations of Proposition D, which many neighbors in Mar Vista supported. This isn’t about Mar Vista not wanting a pot store, I can assure you.
I can understand the need for medical marijuana, but there are 133 other dispensaries where you can make a purchase.
Steve Wallace
Mar Vista

Critic has expensive tastes
Your restaurant critic has written four reviews featuring local restaurants that cost $100 to $160 for dinner for two. But, he adds helpfully, that’s not bad because it included wine.
Where is your critic for the rest
of us?
If the wine is causing your reviewer to spend $60 a head on dinner, tell him to order iced tea.
There are a lot of good local restaurants in the $25 to $30 range for dinner. You can’t find somebody who knows them?
Joan Del Monte

Putting burden on housing providers is unfair
Re: “Affordable housing rent hikes loom,” news, Oct. 24
The suggestion that affordable housing rent hikes loom is inaccurate. There are many Westside residents who receive Section 8 subsidies. If the federal government suspends or removes those subsidies, the owner may, at their discretion, simply reduce the rent.
Good tenants should have a home. Perhaps the city should suspend the requirement that owners pay rental registration fees or inspection fees during this period of time. Perhaps the Dept. of Water and Power should suspend charges or fees for water, sewage and trash. Perhaps local banks should suspend foreclosure proceedings on those properties. In the event an appliance should be broken or damaged, the owner’s responsibility top repair or replace the appliance should be suspended for six to nine months.
So, if for a period of six to nine months, rents are reduced by several hundred dollars as a result of the subsidy problem, the rend obligation can be banked and the owner, at their discretion, may later, when the subsidy is restored, request that either the federal government of the tenant handle the reimbursement.
Asking the housing provider to bear all the responsibility seems unfair.
Michael Millman
Mar Vista
Meat is a scary business
I wasn’t scared of all the witches, zombies and assorted goblins wandering about on Halloween. What really scares me is the meat industry.
This is the industry that: Mutilates, cages and butchers billions of cows, pigs and other sentient animals, feeds carcasses of cats and dogs killed in pounds to chickens, exposes undocumented workers to chronic workplace injuries at slave wages, exploits farmers and ranchers by dictating wholesale market prices, punishes documentation of its abuses through unconstitutional “ag-gag” laws, promotes world hunger by feeding nutritious corn and soybeans to animals, generates more greenhouse gases than any other human activity, generates more water pollution than any other human activity, creates deadly antibiotic-resistant pathogens by feeding antibiotics to animals, creates epidemics of infectious diseases and promotes diabetes, heart failure, stroke and cancer.
Now, that’s really scary.
And this is why I am dropping animal products from my menu.
Al Masters
Marina del Rey

It’s politics, not parking
Re: “Conflict simmers over traffic woes,” news, Oct. 17
The Argonaut story erroneously reports that a conflict exists over traffic woes at Stoner Avenue Elementary. The title should have been LAUSD employee Jose Benitez hides behind the topic of parking in order to promote his agenda to malign Citizens of the World Mar Vista charter elementary school.
What wasn’t reported is that leaflets — er, propaganda — against Citizens of the World allege discrimination in its recruiting but have absolutely no basis in reality. The issues have nothing to do with parking. Otherwise the leaflets would have been about parking and not Citizens of the World.
It’s unfortunate that any parent at Citizens of the World must dignify these ridiculous allegations with a response, but it is necessary because the Argonaut didn’t fully investigate this story. As a founding parent of Citizens of the World charter and the mother of a daughter who is multiracial (Native American and Jewish), I can say unequivocally that the school recruits an incredibly diverse student body.
A beautiful multitude of racial, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds is represented at Citizens of the World. In fact, I do not know how anyone could possibly conclude that discrimination exists at our school when so many of our families are biracial or multiracial. The charter also gives a preference in its lottery to low-income families. The diversity that exists among our families is what makes our school dynamic, and it is part of the school’s very mission.
Allegations that Citizens of the World somehow excludes kids with low test scores are baffling. Admission is done by lottery, not testing. Kids of all abilities and a variety of special needs thrive at the school.
As to the issue of parking, according to Benitez, the solution is to have Citizens of the World families use the Braddock Drive entrance. Benitez and the other homeowners do not want the traffic on Lindblade Avenue, and yet they do not mind increasing traffic on already congested Braddock, which already feeds into the school and is a major thoroughfare during high-traffic drive times.
While moving the drop-off entrance to Braddock may benefit Benitez and his neighbors on Lindblade, it is not fair to the residents on or just off of Braddock, including apartment dwellers and the low-income residents of Mar Vista Gardens. Perhaps it is Benitez who is discriminating against his less-fortunate neighbors who don’t own homes.
Mr. Benitez, instead of working against Citizens of the World charter, why not work towards a solution?
Leandra Yahola