Says Marina LCP amendment should be defeated

To the Editor:

Re: community meetings:

County council told the community not to be concerned about the LCP (Local Coastal Program) amendment, as all six pipeline projects would be reviewed individually and all over again at more meetings.

Yet when I asked privately if the amendment would make it permissible for the county to take public parking lots and give them to developers for buildings, the answer was “yes.”

Many wonderful members of our community spoke, people who live here and people who enjoy and direct recreational activities here for people from all over L.A. County.

As one of them pointed out, “Once a building goes up on a parking lot, that space can no longer afford parking access to the Marina.”

Nor can it become a park as mandated by our LCP before this amendment. This amendment should be defeated. Write to the supervisors. Write to Regional Planning commissioners. Write to the coastal commissioners.

Lynne Shapiro, Marina del Rey

Disputes claim that OPDs would restrict coastal access

To the Editor:

I take issue with a letter to the editor in the Aug. 26 edition of The Argonaut concerning an article in the Aug. 19 edition.

The letter writer wrote, “Does the city of Los Angeles have nothing better to do with scarce funds than to use them to restrict public access to Los Angeles’ most visited beach community?”

As a longtime coastal access advocate and California Coastal Commission supporter, I challenge the fallacious argument used by opponents of overnight parking districts (OPDs) that restricting public parking on Venice streets in the coastal zone from 2 to 5 a.m. would restrict coastal access.

To the contrary, restricting the parking of vehicles for extended periods in scarce public parking near the beach would free up those beach parking spaces for coastal access the other 19 hours a day.

It’s actually the vehicles parked in the coastal zone for weeks at a time that limit coastal access. It’s pathetic that the commissioners got so caught up in emotional hyperbole that they missed this critical point and didn’t follow their staff recommendations.

The claim that OPD restrictions would “overturn 35 years of California Coastal Act protections” is also false because a number of other coastal communities have adopted similar overnight parking restrictions.

Regardless of its other benefits, the proposed Streets-to-Homes program would do little to address this coastal access issue. We don’t subsidize folks who can’t afford to buy or rent near the beach. By what reasoning must the Coastal Commission allow folks to take scarce beach parking spaces out of public service for their own private use just because they choose to camp at the beach “on the cheap?”

Steve Freedman, Venice

Claims LCP amendment going forward against community’s wishes

To the Editor:

The recent public meetings in Marina del Rey on the proposal of a major LCP (Local Coastal Program) amendment demonstrated a complete lack of concern of our community by L.A. county officials. Many residents and boaters rejected the plan at the first meeting and only one or two dissented from the overwhelming nays at the standing-room-only second meeting held at night.

Why were only 100 chairs set out in the small community room if there were 16,000 postcards sent out to residents and boaters? Did they anticipate small numbers in late August or because of the confusing postcard?

Why were there so many developers and their representatives that spoke at the second meeting and none at the first meeting?

The biggest concern for me and a lot of other boaters was the final “outing” by the county in this amendment on what has clearly happened to our public harbor over the last several years.

On page 46 of the Land Use Plan document, in all caps, states: Should the future use of the Marina focus on recreational boating as the primary use of the area? Our bureaucrats have become so attracted to big money and private interests that they are now questioning the future of one of our greatest public assets in the county and what the whole intent of the Marina was all about.

Based on several recent project proposals and The Argonaut’s great articles on the history of the Marina, the county will continue to ignore our residential and boating community’s concerns in order to serve other interests.

In August 2008, I asked a senior planner in the Department of Regional Planning in front of Don Knabe, our county supervisor, and a room full of community members, “Do you believe in community-based planning?” She quickly responded, “community-based planning is the foundation of our department.”

Our Marina community has certainly not seen any evidence of that. People who own boats and live in the community should have the right to set the course for this harbor’s future. While the county officials will make a few minor changes to the amendment in response to some of our concerns, this amendment and the major changes to the LCP and the development potential is going forward against our community’s wishes.

Why would the county be so quick to run this through the public process for an LCP amendment when the California Coastal Commission has not yet completed the LCP periodic review?

Why weren’t the 110,000 registered boat owners in L.A. County given the opportunity to weigh-in on the future of our small-craft, recreational harbor?

Jon Nahhas, Playa del Rey

Praises support for Assembly resolution on Santa Monica Airport impacts

To the Editor:

Although Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR) 41 is non-binding, it sends a clear message that the state of California believes the federal government should address the critical concerns of Santa Monica Airport neighbors that are delineated within the resolution text.

One of the most significant “resolved” clauses states, “That the entities memorialized above (Federal Aviation Administration, the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the federal Department of Transportation, and the members of the California congressional delegation) work together to establish and implement a reasonable minimum distance between aircraft operations at Santa Monica Airport and the neighboring communities.”

The results of AJR 41 will be entirely up to our federal representatives and federal agencies. With the FAA Reauthorization Bill in the final stages, I strongly urge Rep. Henry Waxman not to waste this opportunity to add an amendment establishing a reasonable distance between jet blast and homes.

Los Angeles bans gas leaf-blowers from use within 500 feet of homes, and yet jets are blasting off as close as 250 feet. For more than 20 years, with several unbiased scientific studies showing high levels of pollution from jets at Santa Monica Airport, we are saying enough is enough.

Additionally, I strongly urge Waxman and/or Rep. Jane Harman to consider holding a congressional committee hearing near Santa Monica Airport to discuss safety, noise and air pollution issues. Sen. Barbara Boxer or Sen. Diane Feinstein might also initiate a hearing. The issues are critical, the community is very restless, and procrastination is not acceptable.

Assemblyman Ted Lieu took on our concerns regarding Santa Monica Airport from the start of his term in office. About six years ago Lieu offered me, as director of Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution (CRAAP), an opportunity to work with him and his staff to sponsor legislation that he could champion at the state level.

He has been diligent, tough, smart, and fair in his approach. He started by introducing Assembly Bill (AB) 2501, followed by AB 700, followed by AJR 37 and now AJR 41. It’s a complex problem with no simple solution. It’s like untying a difficult twisted knot.

AJR 41 is a necessary, incremental step that gives credence to issues that call for the federal government’s attention. Lieu has guided the legislature through the process of polishing California’s position.

All Santa Monica Airport impacted neighbors should be very grateful. Over the last six years, letters from CRAAP members and other neighborhood groups and councils, as well as environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club were sent supporting Lieu’s legislation. AJR 41 has the added support of State Sen. Fran Pavley as the resolution’s co-author as well as the Coalition for Clean Air’s support.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl has been to the City Council, what Lieu has been to the California Legislature. Without their aggressive efforts and the ongoing commitment of my wife Joan and me, we would not have advanced the ball as far as we have.

The issues addressed by AJR 41 are clear, credible, and not to be treated in a partisan fashion. The final vote in the state Assembly was 57 in favor and 16 opposed, picking up nine Republican votes as well as the one Democrat who originally voted no. Progress is being made.

Martin Rubin, Director, Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution

Praises customs agents for seizing prohibited items

To the Editor:

Kudos! kudos! to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agricultural specialists.

These folks never get enough recognition for the jobs they do at our many ports of entry. They are understaffed and to find 1.5 million prohibited meats, plant materials and animal products including 166,727 agricultural pests, is overwhelming to me. I know about these pests. They have wiped out the pine forests where I come from. It’s pathetic.

I want to say thank you to these men and women who try so hard to keep this country free of these foreign pests that could wipe out our crops, orchards and forests in a blink of an eye.

Bruce and Marlyn Gibson, Marina del Rey

Believes RV parking issue can be relieved with more monitored sites

To the Editor:

Venice is a city, not an RV campground. To suggest that sanitary services be provided in Venice to RV dwellers would increase the power of the magnet that is drawing more and more RVs to Venice.

Increasing the present massing of vehicles would further exacerbate an already untenable situation for residents and it must be stopped.

Presently, RVs can go to Dockweiler State Beach which is a short drive south from Venice and provides legal, safe RV waste dumping and also rents camping spaces.

By requiring the use of this existing facility and creating additional monitored transitional camping situations throughout Los Angeles that can lead to permanent housing, as well as enforcing effective parking ordinances, the situation in Venice can be relieved.

Stewart Oscars, Venice