Believes the Supreme Court will defend the minority’s constitutional right to marry
To the Editor,
The letter in the November 27th issue of The Argonaut, “Says Prop 8 not an equal rights issue,” reflects an unfortunately common American ignorance about the Constitution and our system of government that it enables.
Our government is not, as the letter writer asserts, a “democracy of the majority.” To the contrary, founding fathers Jefferson, Adams and Franklin, et al., deliberately constructed a representative republic, in which the people elect legislators and judges to operate the government from three independent branches.
They did this for many reasons, most notably because they understood that the people were generally too ignorant and provincial to effectively govern a united republic by popular vote. Not that they believed the masses weren’t smart enough to pass sensible laws, but rather, they feared the majority would occasionally enact a tyrannical law restricting the liberties of the minority.
It was just such tyranny (often royal and/or religious) that drove numerous minorities to found the New World in the first place. The fathers sought to exclude such oppression in the United States through a constitution that guaranteed “certain inalienable rights” including the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” By also creating an independent and supreme judiciary, they ensured that should the representative government infringe upon these rights, the court would overturn in defense of constitutional intent.
The letter writer’s rationale for letting Proposition 8 stand exemplifies the very “tyranny of the majority” that the founders feared and against which our Constitution protects.
He adds to a compelling case for overturning Proposition 8 by noting that marriage is a 5,000-year-old institution. If ever there were a longstanding symbol of human happiness, marriage is that. It follows then, that the pursuit of happiness, being an inalienable constitutional right, entitles any American to marriage, regardless of the “minority” group to which they belong. The will of the majority is irrelevant, by design.
We painfully tolerate gun violence and Nazi parades to protect our Second and First Amendment rights to civil defense and free speech, because infringing on those rights for good reason only opens the door to infringement for bad reasons. It’s the price we must pay for liberty.
It will take some time for Prop 8 to reach our Supreme Court, but in the end the court will defend the minority constitutional right against the majority tyranny. Many will decry the decision, and it will be the correct one for the Republic.
David W. Kay, Playa Vista
Concerned about safety issues with construction of Venice Pumping Plant
To the Editor,
Many of us have attended meetings regarding the Venice Pumping Plant. We wrote and requested specifics to be included in the environmental impact report (EIR).
Now we are at the point that the City Council must give its okay. I have written to City Councilman Bill Rosendahl three times requesting that he be on top of the Department of Public Works. This is the same department that dropped the ball when they did a similar project — the Thompson Pumping Plant in Playa del Rey in the late 1990s, which went way over its time line and caused havoc on Culver Boulevard.
I hope that they learned their lesson and are prepared to deal with problems.
My biggest concerns are landslides, mudflow and subsidence (sinking earth caused by excavations), improper compaction of fill and, of most importance, dewatering (withdrawal of underground fluid).
I hope that the Los Angeles City Council does not give “carte blanche” to the Department of Public Works to begin this project until there are public meetings to inform the public and the fire and police departments about what can be expected during each phase, prior to that phase. This is to protect the public and assist those who are responsible for safety.
Another issue is that of staging equipment. They must not plan to use the precious parking in the so-called “Jungle” or the lagoon area of Playa del Rey.
Carol Kapp, Playa del Rey
‘I did not buy a house next to the airport; rather, the airport moved next door to me’
To the Editor:
An item in the Los Angeles Times Opinion section November 22nd, “Runways, not Glitz,” contains a parenthetical statement regarding Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) neighbors — “even though they bought their houses knowing they were next door to an airport and LAWA [Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that operates LAX] has spent millions soundproofing their homes” — that is a far cry from the truth.
There were people in Playa del Rey before the Wright Brothers flew. Earlier this year, my next-door neighbor, a neighbor across the street, and I each received very fancy “illuminated” certificates from the City of Los Angeles testifying that we had each lived in our homes in Playa del Rey for 50 years. I did not buy a house next door to the airport; rather, the airport (LAX) moved next door to me.
When I bought my house, LAX was completely south of Century Boulevard, north of Imperial Highway, and east of Sepulveda Boulevard — the runway, the terminal, the tower, and the LAX Post Office.
Rather than fight the cities of Inglewood, Hawthorne and El Segundo, LAX decided to expand into the Westchester and Playa del Rey areas of the City of Los Angeles.
These communities were unable to defend themselves, since both were part of the City of Los Angeles. LAX made Sepulveda Boulevard into a tunnel and extended the South Runway on top of it.
The first terminal building built was that of United Airlines. The tower was moved westerly across Sepulveda and the march was on.
Pershing Drive was moved west, a second South Runway was built almost to the ocean, and then a North Runway was built, leaving Playa del Rey homes between the two takeoff runways.
After lawsuits, LAX moved or demolished all the homes with a view of the Pacific Ocean from Imperial North to Vista del Mar, but left the rubble with no fence.
Several boys playing in the rubble were killed when a wall fell on them. (One boy was in my younger son’s Boy Scout troop). LAX cleared the rubble and put in a fence.
Then the airport moved north again and built the North-North runway and then Westchester Parkway, removing homes in Westchester along La Tijera Boulevard, three out of 18 holes in the Westchester Golf Course, and more Playa del Rey homes.
To be more specific, when I bought my house, the end of the takeoff runway was about 4.6 miles from my house; now it is about 1.3 miles as the crow flies. If one assumes that the noise perception is proportional to the fourth power of the distance, it is 132 times as loud now as it was when my house was new. (Of course, the noise from jet engines is a different frequency and seems louder than that from propeller-driven airplanes.)
LAX did not offer to soundproof my house or any of my neighbors’ houses, contrary to the Times editorial implication.
While continuous exposure to noise results in hearing impairment, the major danger to my neighbors and my family is the air that we breathe. Small particles (smaller than 2.5-millionth of a meter — 2.5 microns) are trapped in the lungs. The airplanes emit these small acidic particles.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has presented on the Internet at least 20 different chemical compounds emitted from jet engines, some of which cause cancer. There are, of course, differences between various jet engines, but ask anyone in Playa del Rey near the North-North runway takeoff point about the “nasty black stuff” on their outdoor furniture and you will get an earful.
The Los Angeles Times has published many stories about the pollution from diesel trucks serving the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach and several have stated that the port is the largest polluter in the city. It is my opinion that if proper air quality measurements were made near LAX, that LAX would be the largest polluter in the city.
Alex Weir, Jr. Ph.D., Playa del Rey
Says column should be called ‘Through Rose-colored Glasses’
To the Editor,
I just read The Argonaut column titled “Through My Eyes,” by Bettina Gantsweg, which should be retitled “Through Rose-colored Glasses.”
In it she describes her walk along Ballona Creek, using such lines as:
— “Drawing in the newborn day’s salty freshness enlivens our bodies, clears our minds.”
— “Gulls greet us — they appear so regal, attired in jewels.”
— “Waves roll into the creek and slither along the rocks blanketed with green velvet moss.”
— “Inhaling the crispness, the spray tickling our faces, we share the delight of living in Marina del Rey.”
Bettina ends her story with, “When you get lemons, make lemonade.”
I say, too much sugar can make you sick.
Gene Patrick, Westchester