Says articles on Marina history are ‘gift’ to community

To the Editor:

The recent series of articles on the history of Marina del Rey are a wonderful gift to the community, and I want to thank The Argonaut for giving us such a treasure.

Helga Gendell’s well researched and insightful writing has enabled us to get a unique insider’s look at the motivations and politics behind the creation of our special community.

These may become collector’s items in the future (I’m hanging on to my copies). In the meantime, I’d love to continue to read more about the Marina’s history — maybe in an ongoing series or column.

Bev Moore, Executive Director Marina del Rey Convention & Visitors Bureau

Defends restoration work at Ballona Wetlands

To the Editor:

In response to “Playa Vista: Steve Soboroff reflects on his future following his departure from day-to-day operations” (Argonaut, April 29th):

Acquisition of the Ballona Wetlands by the people of California ensured that Los Angeles County’s most critical wetland habitat would be restored and protected in perpetuity.

Gary Walker’s April 29th article includes a disheartening quote by Mr. Soboroff, questioning what has been done with the land that was “given” to the people of California.

In 2004, approximately 190 acres of the Ballona Wetlands were purchased by the people of California from Playa Capital for $139 million. This purchase and subsequent donation of the remaining land was the result of years of hard-fought negotiations. Since then, a coalition of community members, organizations and government agencies has developed a long-term vision for the restoration of the Ballona Wetlands.

While it may appear that little has changed on the site, significant time and effort have gone into discussing, designing and planning the restoration of functioning wetlands at this site. At the same time, comprehensive scientific assessments are underway that help us understand what is on the site right now and the potential for long-term restoration.

It took many decades of ditching, filling, dumping, paving and otherwise obliterating the natural systems of the Ballona Wetlands to get to where we are today. Spending a few years on a science-based planning process is a small investment with a big return — protecting what’s there and restoring what’s been damaged.

I am extremely proud of the efforts of everyone who has worked so hard to understand the Ballona Wetlands system and plan the restoration, and I am excited for the project to move into the next phases of environmental review and implementation.

Shelley Luce, D.Env., Executive Director Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission

Criticizes county Web site design for Mothers Beach Concept Plan

To the Editor:

Re: April 29th Argonaut article “Design Control Board chair suggests……”:

I checked out the “Marina (Mothers) Beach Concept Plan” on the Los Angeles County Web site and it is interesting but contains limited real information.

None of the renderings include street names, so it is impossible to determine the actual location of each rendering in relation to today’s Mothers Beach. Considering the amount of money paid out by the county for this design work, one would think the physical locations would have been better defined.

Al Hains, Marina del Rey

Says reduction of homeless services will exacerbate ‘revolving door’ effect

To the Editor:

Our natural inclination is to think that the homeless lack the personal character to be successful — they do not have a strong work ethic, are lazy and are only looking for handouts from the government.

We value platitudes like rugged individualism, and the pick-yourself-up-by-the-bootstrap mentality.

These concepts color our judgments about who is worthy of assistance, and as a result, public opinion has contempt for public welfare. In times of financial crisis it is seen as a luxury that can no longer be afforded. After all, what incentives do politicians have to support a group of people who is unlikely to vote for or support their campaign?

Despite the political rhetoric and scapegoating, cash aid programs such as General Relief and CalWORKS are not the source of the state’s woes, and only offer meager financial assistance. Unemployed individuals receiving monthly General Relief aid are awarded $221 for up to nine months, and CalWORKS offers one-child parents $584 per month.

If saving money is a priority of city officials, then they should reconsider policies that perpetuate the “revolving door” effect of homelessness. It costs Los Angeles an estimated $8,083 per month for each homeless person who moves from emergency room to shelter, to jail to shelter and to emergency room. That is six times the monthly market rate of a two-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles.

Slashing funding for short-term objectives will only result in a long-term headache for taxpayers, as a reduction of services will exacerbate the “revolving door” phenomena.

Michael Mihalas, Santa Monica