Argues new leadership required to properly manage RV parking issue

To the Editor:

RE: “Addresses Venice residents on homelessness concerns” (Argonaut letters, Sept. 30).

I find it infuriating when the letter writer addresses Venice residents to pontificate to Venetians “You’re worse than children,” and you’re allowing “fear, hatred and greed to rule your minds,” about being angry at people who are camping in front of their houses. At Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s meeting, one guy even drove up from Newport Beach, one of the richest cities in the U.S., to accuse us of being heartless, unfeeling reactionaries. The fact is that the residents of Venice are the most liberal and caring community in Los Angeles.

This issue has been and continues to be miscast as residents vs. homeless, rich vs. poor. It is neither. It is specifically an issue over people who are taking up public parking spaces and committing a public nuisance.

Most of the homeless are not living in RVs; this issue is not about them. One of the speakers at the meeting indicated that they had over 200 immediately available places for people to stay and gave out the number to call.

Nobody seemed to pay any attention and we continued to hear the RV advocates complaining about being victimized by the police, having a lack of resources and being harassed by residents.

The letter even compares Venice to Darfur and Rwanda, and the writer is surprised that the people of Venice are upset.

One thing the letter writer did get right was the ineffective nature of our elected officials and their failure to efficiently allocate public resources. It’s particularly galling when we see that the city attorney’s office (salaries paid for by taxpayers’ money) now has to spend taxpayers’ money to sue the California Coastal Commission (salaries also paid for by taxpayers’ money).

Rosendahl and our own Venice Neighborhood Council have proved completely ineffective in managing/responding to this issue. They seem so absorbed with the national homeless issue (Venice barely has the resources to handle the local demands, never mind the larger problem) that they have allowed what should have been a relatively simple process — put up the street restrictions, don’t go to the Coastal Commission for permission, notify the RV dwellers of available housing should they choose to use it — to get completely out of control.

Now they are looking at a convoluted, expensive solution (parking lots are safer than streets?) that will obviously fail. If there is one message coming loud and clear out of this issue it is that we need to elect a different kind of leadership in the future. A leadership that has focus on local issues and the courage to address them.

Mark Standring, Venice

Praises interview with former county official on Marina development

To the Editor:

Residents of Los Angeles County owe an immense debt of gratitude to your reporter, Helga Gendell, for her detailed and extensive coverage of developments in Marina del Rey.

Nowhere have her efforts been more appreciated than in the finale to her series on Marina history, which included an interview with James Fawcett, former chief of planning for the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors.

This interview makes apparent what many of us have long suspected, that the county’s so-called asset management strategy for Marina development is nothing but a developer’s boondoggle to turn the Marina into a private preserve for wealthy apartment dwellers and owners of luxury yachts.

Recreational facilities for Los Angeles residents, for which the Marina was originally created, figure nowhere in these county plans.

One does well to remember that the original version of these plans included turning the Mothers Beach picnic area, one of the most popular recreational destinations in the county, into a row of indistinguishable hotels. Fortunately, someone came to their senses on that one and the developer withdrew the project.

But the county is still pushing ahead with projects to turn three parking lots on the beachside of the Marina into apartment blocks, thus guaranteeing a parking and traffic nightmare.

One of these lots is the boaters’ parking lots on Panay Way. Taking away the parking opposite the northern sand spit of Mothers Beach where non-power boats are launched will put a damper on the activities of kayakers, rowers and outrigger clubs whose colorful craft are one of the most picturesque attractions of the Marina.

To Helga Gendell, once more — congratulations and keep it up.

Bruce Russell, Marina del Rey

Says creating alternatives for people living in vehicles benefits everyone

To the Editor:

A point of information about the California Coastal Commission decision to not support overnight parking restrictions, (OPDs):

The Coastal Commission voted against restricted parking in Venice because there is not an alternative parking plan for the residents or the public. That is the job of the Coastal Commission — to ensure public access to the coast.

Other beach cities that have restricted overnight parking have way more available alternative parking for coastal access. This was well documented at the hearings, that Venice does not have adequate parking per need as other coastal cities.

The shortsightedness of putting in ordinances of restriction without providing available alternatives is obviously punitive for ALL residents and the public.

Safe parking alternatives is certainly a step forward in a positive direction; however, the lack of public parking in Venice is outrageous.

We encourage tourism; we open up restaurants with variances that do not have adequate parking and then allow valet parking on public streets to take up the parking of taxpaying residents.

On the empty street of Frederick, from Lake to California, one block behind Ralph’s market are two remodeled Lincoln Place apartments; does anyone live there? There are signs restricting parking to one and two hours. There is no activity there yet there is restricted parking.

We need to put our time, money and energy into creating affordable housing, finding accommodations for people forced to live in their vehicles such as waste disposal, bathroom facilities, social services and safe parking at night. This benefits not just them but all of us.

Emily Winters, Venice

Wonders when Butler/Mintz Assembly debate will happen

To the Editor:

I currently live in Torrance, which is part of the 53rd State Assembly District. I have voted in every election since 1972. I have always learned about the issues and candidates before voting.

One of the ways I have learned about candidates in the past has been through watching debates. I have watched candidates debate for presidential, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and mayoral races, but so far I have not seen Democratic candidate Betsy Butler debate Nathan Mintz, the Republican candidate, for the 53rd District Assembly seat.

She has been invited more than once. Last Thursday night, Oct. 7, she had been invited to debate Mintz at Torrance Memorial Hospital.

Due to reported pressure on the organizers by Assembly Speaker John Perez, the invitations for the public to attend were not sent out. Mintz reportedly arrived to find no audience and no Butler.

I have a question for Butler: If your platform is so wonderful, why are you afraid to show up to a debate and defend your position? If you are really the best candidate, you would jump at the chance to tell people, especially if it were televised.

What is it you are afraid of Butler; that people will find out Mintz is the better candidate?

David Henseler


Attacks criticism of Fish and Game enforcement in wetlands

To the Editor:

Re: “Lack of personnel, budget cuts cited as reasons behind accumulation of debris in environmental preserve” (Argonaut, Sept. 30).

It is both disingenuous and outrageous of Marcia Hanscom and Roy Van de Hoek (Ballona Institute co-directors) to attack the state Department of Fish and Game when they know, as Dr. Shelley Luce confirms, that drastic budget cuts have made it almost impossible for the department to fulfill its duties.

The fact is that the Ballona Wetlands had a reserve manager for a short time — until the devastating recession eliminated his position. He was a knowledgeable, responsible, vigilant guardian who had wonderful plans for new education programs.

When he was first assigned to Ballona, we were delighted to have someone devoted to its welfare after so many years of neglect. During his tenure, problems like those cited in the article were quickly taken care of. Since then, the increase of trash is proof of how budget cuts have harmed the wetlands.

Now the remaining staff has an impossibly large area to cover and consequently there is virtually no enforcement.

To blame Fish and Game for something that is clearly not their fault is the height of hypocrisy.

As for the dangers of trash accumulation at the wetlands, the most efficient way to solve the problem is to begin restoration. Meanwhile, there are other ill-advised and ignorant activities at Ballona — for example: residents feeding coyotes (see Dr. Eric Strauss’ blog about this at

Ruth Lansford, Founder Friends of Ballona Wetlands