Commends Mariner’s Bistro owner for customer service

To the Editor:

I lived at Mariners Village for six years, from March 2003 to August 2008. I found the owner of Mariner’s Bistro, Zarik, to be very friendly and accommodating to his customers.

He considers his customers to be his friends and that’s how he treats you. He makes some of the best kabobs and pizza I’ve ever tasted.

I no longer live on the property, but I still use him for catering at my place of employment. I truly miss being able to go across the property to get my lunch or dinner at will. He makes sure his customers are well taken care of. Out of sight is definitely not out of mind — this is exactly how good he is.

It would be a shame to let “the big guy” push out “the small guy.”

Mike Lecesse, Woodland Hills

Withdrawal of Mothers Beach hotel plan should be cause for fireworks

To the Editor:

A disclosure in The Argonaut January 21st issue should be the occasion for a joyous fireworks display over Marina del Rey.

Los Angeles County planning official Mike Tripp revealed at a county Small Craft Harbor Commission meeting that the developer has withdrawn an application to build hotels over the parking lot and picnic table area of the popular Mothers (Marina) Beach.

This Mothers Beach takeover was the most brazen of the county’s attempts to grab dedicated public parking lots in the Marina for luxury private developments, and we hope it is just the first of development back-downs.

We ARE Marina del Rey is opposing these county giveaways of precious recreational facilities and some of our members polled picnickers along Mothers Beach about what they thought of the county’s hotels proposal. Their efforts resulted in hundreds of protest cards being sent to the California Coastal Commission, which has the final say on these issues.

Tripp said the final use for the Mothers Beach area has not yet been determined. He said the county is deciding whether to maintain its application to the Coastal Commission to take over this area for development.

We would like to put the county on notice that if they make a second try to grab the Mothers Beach picnic area and parking, they can expect the most vigorous opposition.

Carla Andrus, Marina del Rey

Surprised to see airport effects after ten-year absence

To the Editor:

I would like to add a comment about your article in the January 28th Argonaut regarding Marcy Winograd running to unseat an incumbent and whose focus will be on reducing traffic into the Santa Monica Airport.

As the niece of my aunt and uncle who’ve lived in Mar Vista for 50 years on Coolidge Avenue, I was flabbergasted to learn, upon returning after a decade-long absence from L.A., that nearly everyone on their block, including my uncle, who died of emphysema several years ago, has died of some form of cancer.

Not heart attacks, not diabetes, not strokes, but some kind of debilitating cancer. The airplanes’ flight pattern is directly over my aunt and uncle’s home. This week I will take a video for Internet posting to show how many and how closely the planes fly directly over my relatives’ neighborhood and house — so close you can see the landing gear.

I asked my aunt, now 86, if anyone ever brought this to light with City Council members or congresspersons, but when you’ve been given the diagnosis, then must follow up with pernicious “treatments,” ramming an idea that should have been addressed by founding fathers long before this, is last on your to-do list.

Appreciated your interesting and well-written article.

Melissa Streeter, Los Angeles

Story on Vera Davis center brings back memories

To the Editor:

The article in the February 4th Argonaut about the careers of Cliff McClain (Vera Davis McClendon center director) brought back many memories. I was a volunteer for a few years working with the Vera Davis program for homeless women with children.

She was a remarkable woman with a big heart. We put on some fundraisers for the shelter, including a sports memorabilia event at the Baja Cantina.

Stan Herman was emcee and O.J. Simpson was the guest of honor who was doing community service.

Next was a dinner/auction at the Beverly Hilton, and the guest of honor was Zsa Zsa Gabor, who was doing her community service.

It is so good to know that these important services continue.

Thank you Mr. McClain.

Lenore Ritkes, Marina del Rey

Praises candidate’s letter to governor to use alternate airport

To the Editor:

Regarding Argonaut January 28th story “Candidate for Congress issues ‘no more jets’ request to governor and others after attending local air pollution forum:”

According to a May 16th, 2008 Associated Press article, “Airport could wave off governor’s jet,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger commutes almost daily from his Los Angeles estate to the Sacramento statehouse in his luxurious Gulfstream IV jet. This is more than just weekend use. That clarified, the governor surely finds the seven-mile hop from his gated Brentwood neighborhood to Santa Monica Airport (SMO) most convenient. Therefore, it is very appropriate that Marcy Winograd has written the governor first, asking that he sign the pledge not to make SMO his airport of choice for the reasons described within the letter.

Protecting his financial interest, Arthur Rubin, president/CEO of Action Messenger Service, argues from an opposing view. He argues that Winograd’s pledge would be discriminatory and unfair to the aircraft, forcing them to go elsewhere.

He says “The economic impact would be enormous. Why would anyone even suggest something like that?” Did he really ask that or was he misquoted? Rather than taking several more years to study if blowing jet exhaust into people’s lungs is unhealthful, just get rid of the jets at SMO and then begin a series of studies to determine what the economic costs are.

Martin Rubin, Los Angeles Director, Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution

Calls on city leaders to reject proposal to hike Big Blue Bus fares

To the Editor:

Since 1928, the City of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus has served the community and hundreds of millions of passengers with distinction, and it has been a model for municipal transit agencies throughout California.

The Big Blue Bus has been recognized many times as the number-one bus agency in the nation, based on dependability, courteous service, frequency and a low-fare structure.

It achieves this notoriety because, since its inception, the vision has always been to pursue the priority of serving its customers/ passengers as its fundamental mission.

Other agencies often pursue what is most convenient for the management and the bureaucracy.

Recently, the Big Blue Bus announced thiscal crisis exists and that there are only two choices, and both choices are dire.

That stance is disappointing because it turns the traditions of our exceptional bus operation in reverse.

Telling passengers, local businesses, seniors, tourists and students that there are only two dire choices — eliminate service or raise fares — is a real disservice.

That threat from our Big Blue Bus jeopardizes the reputation of our bus agency and follows a defeatist strategy.

It’s up to our community to support public transit by encouraging the City Council, which is the authority that decides policy and direction, to meet this fiscal challenge without crippling the standards that define the Big Blue Bus.

It’s up to the City Council to balance city priorities and create a budget which protects the outstanding civic amenities that make Santa Monica a special city.

At last the cities and our country are turning away from cars and embracing public transit, and Santa Monica has long been a leader.

We must continuously improve our bus service to meet this necessity at existing fares. The city must reject fare hikes and service reductions because those two dire choices take us in the wrong direction.

Clearly, this is not the time to reduce public transportation. We just don’t need more cars, pollution, congestion, traffic and parking nightmares.

Hiking fares will cause hardship and inconvenience. The number of passengers will dwindle and bus revenue will decline.

Local businesses will suffer tremendously and city tax revenue will drop off significantly.

Our local prosperity depends on maintaining and improving the Big Blue Bus standard. Santa Monica is a great city and it deserves, expects and enjoys exceptional leadership, and must be vigilant in the face of all crises and challenges in order to enhance the city, protect its reputation and guard its future.

Carl Levin, Santa Monica

Agrees with supervisors’ challenge to Pumping Plant project

To the Editor:

I can’t help but agree with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ decision to file a writ to challenge the City of Los Angeles’ recent approval of the Venice Pumping Plant project as recommended by the Los Angeles Department of Public Works.

Many locals have attended and testified at various public meetings. We have been adamant that the city should consider the beach route as it would disrupt the least number of people and businesses.

The project manager states that the beach route would probably be opposed by the California Coastal Commission. I find his use of the word “probably” unacceptable. Did the city even have discussions with the Coastal Commission?

The people of Playa del Rey suffered through the last Pumping Plant project, the Thompson Pumping Plant, which also had a timeline of about 12 months. It ended up being 20-plus months.

I urge City Councilman Bill Rosendahl to urge the Los Angeles City Council to reconsider its unanimous approval of this ill-thought-out project. I lived through Public Works’ last mistake. No more please.

Carol Kapp, Playa del Rey

Wants section of Cabora open to hikers

To the Editor:

The dirt road Cabora Drive in Playa del Rey up to Nicholson Street is open and used by hikers.

It offers a traffic-free walk with nice views along the bluffs in Playa del Rey. I have tried to contact the Southern California Gas Company to open the section of Cabora from Falmouth Avenue to Lincoln Boulevard with no avail.

There is a locked gate at both ends. Maybe the east end at Lincoln is not under the control of the Gas Company. But why this paved street is closed to walkers is a mystery to me. How do we get this street open to walkers?

Herman Pass, Playa del Rey