Fed up hearing about groups that want to infringe on property owners’ rights

To the Editor:

I think it’s about time for me to stop reading The Argonaut. I find it so frustrating to read about how this group or that group wants to regulate every little thing in our lives. There are two recent examples that have irked me so much that I’m writing this letter. Both come down to simple property rights.

The first is the group “Venice Unchained,” which wants a law passed to keep formula retail businesses away from the Venice area. God forbid that a successful business model come into the neighborhood.

I recall reading a few months ago that some of the members of this group are the local retailers already established along Abbot Kinney Boulevard and Ocean Front Walk. It seems obvious to me that they just don’t want the competition because they cannot operate competitively. That’s why formula retail stores have been successful, because they are competitive.

The second is the demand for low-cost housing in the Marina del Rey area (or anywhere else for that matter). Why is it that small, vocal groups of people can force developers to set aside a portion of their projects for people who can’t afford to live there unless the developer subsidizes their housing? What incentive does anyone have to improve their situation if everything is just handed to them?

I cannot afford to live on the waterfront in the Marina and I work hard every day to afford what I do have. Perhaps I should quit working so hard, get a low-paying job, and then force someone to give me prime housing out of their pockets.

Like I said, both of these issues involve nothing more than property rights. As property owners, we should have the right to do with our property as we wish, including opening formula retail stores or building high-priced housing. We have a wonderful and powerful tool to use if we don’t like what our neighbor has done — voting with our feet by moving away.

Unless there is already a neighborhood association limiting what can be built or done with a property, then the passing of these crazy laws is nothing more than forcing your views on everyone else. How odd that if it were the religious right trying to do such a thing, then these are probably the very same people who would be throwing the biggest fit.

Chris Smith, Culver City

Says she often sees only one man moving dirt at Lincoln Blvd. construction site

To the Editor:

Each day I drive north on Lincoln Boulevard from 83rd Street in Westchester to Fiji Way in Marina del Rey, a total of about two miles.

This short drive takes between 20 and 30 minutes, about the same it has taken for the last four years.

Lately I have begun to notice that, although there are a lot of large earthmovers parked on the road construction site, there is usually only one man actually moving dirt. There are also several empty parked pickup trucks, but very few people on-site.

This causes me to wonder if this road construction is taking so long and causing such major traffic delays because it is being built by one man. Most countries in the civilized world would never allow the completion of such a major housing development without completing the road access first.

It is heartbreaking that emergency fire trucks and ambulances are gridlocked during rush hour on Lincoln because traffic cannot move to allow access. That this is a complete disregard for human life, time and money is obvious but I wonder, who should I call? Our mayor? Councilman Bill Rosendahl? Who?

Maybe I should pull over and ask the one man working when this will be completed. Too bad there’s no way to pull over.

Judi Oergel, Westchester

Thanks those who helped get new lease for Beyond Baroque

To the Editor:

Thanks to the visionary leadership of Los Angeles 11th District City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, his superb staff, and to Beyond Baroque’s vast body of extremely vocal supporters, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously February 29th to endorse renewing Beyond Baroque’s lease on its historic Venice home, the Old City Hall, for 25 years at $1 a year.

It is absolutely wonderful news. It is victory for poetry and the arts. It is a victory for the preservation of history, the public realm, and the capacity for experiment. It is a rare triumph for the love of language, the written word, books, and the precious spark that community lends to all of us.

Councilman Rosendahl was working for us until the very last minute that morning in City Council chambers, as the vote went through. It was an honor to be there to see it. We are grateful to his chief of staff, Mike Bonin, who helped craft the motion that passed. Our lease would have expired the next day.

We are grateful as well to Roendahl’s Southern District director for Venice/Marina Peninsula deputy, Arturo Pi“a; to the councilman’s staff that fielded calls and e-mails; and to so many others in City Hall, across the city, across the country, and across the world.

I want to thank our Steering Committee that helped assure this wonderful outcome, led by Suzanne Thompson, with Linda Lucks, Rick Tuttle, Beyond Baroque’s board Amelie Frank, Brooks Roddan, and Richard Modiano, and, behind us, all of you who sent e-mails, letters, made phone calls, and went out of your way to help.

Those of you over the last few weeks who contacted our councilman and the city attorney, who expressed support to our officials at meetings and gatherings, and fired up the Internet deserve to know how incredibly much you matter. It was your stepping forward that, ultimately, made clear how important Beyond Baroque is to city government, enabling our councilman and his staff to achieve what was accomplished today.

We owe Councilman Rosendahl a great debt of gratitude. Please thank him and his chief of staff, Mike Bonin for all they have done, and for all that they have now made possible. It was they who helped us all steer the ship safely into port.

Beyond Baroque’s home is safe until 2032. This is a moment truly worth celebrating and remembering. Thank you, from all of us at Beyond Baroque.

Warmly, with hope for the future.

Fred Dewey, director and board chairman, Beyond Baroque

Raises issues about RV parking and St. Joseph Center location

To the Editor:

I am writing regarding a letter in The Argonaut issue of February 21st entitled, “Says anti-RV pilot permit parking project should be in Venice, not Brentwood.”

The letter spoke of the problems associated with the so-called mobile homeless and the city’s pilot RV (recreational vehicle) street parking prohibition.

The letter seemed to suggest that the RV pilot program was mistakenly placed in Brentwood. Maybe so. However we were told at our January meeting of the Pacific Division Community Police Advisory Board that the location of the program to be implemented was specifically chosen by Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s office.

When the program was announced, it immediately piqued the audience’s interest, but when the location was made clear, roars of laughter arose from the group. We all knew the program was being misplaced in Brentwood. The question is, “why?” Is the council office seriously interested in this pilot program being a success?

Was the recent disbanding by Councilman Rosendahl of his Community-St. Joseph Center Working Group just another example of the community’s interests being shelved?

This particular group was formed after it became apparent that a homeless program administrated by the St. Joseph Center was being relocated to a small commercial space on Lincoln Boulevard less than 20 feet away from homes. That program attracts many people, both homeless and not, for free food, laundry, telephones, postal spaces, etc. without mandatory registration or sign up for counseling services.

At a community meeting in December 2006, Councilman Rosendahl stated to the over 100 neighbors in attendance that he had only just found out about the St. Joseph Center relocation. The community later found out through official record requests that Councilman Rosendahl not only knew of the relocation for almost a year prior, but had aided St. Joseph Center in its move with city funds, as did Los Angeles County through Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s office and the City of Santa Monica as well.

The Community-St. Joseph Center Working Group was convened months later and facilitated by the council office. It was a tardy effort to include the community in a documented process rather than addressing community concerns.

It’s not about the validity of the social service programs, it’s about the appropriateness of the location of those programs.

Chris Williams, Venice

Sees another off-leash pit bull after her dog was killed by one

To the Editor:

On Friday, February 29th, another off-leash pit bull was running loose around Marina docks threatening dogs and their owners. This is just four days after an off-leash pit bull killed my Yorkshire terrier on Mothers Beach.

This total disregard of the leash law by irresponsible pit bull owners has got to stop.

When will something be done to protect residents and their animals, as it is unsafe to walk your dog in Marina del Rey due to off-leash dogs?

Anita Winters, Marina del Rey