Offers ideas to clean up and beautify our beaches

To the Editor:

I am writing to you about the concern I have for our beaches.Ý

I was wondering why we don’t get local artists and children to make our lifeguard stands much more of an art piece. Paint them, make something very creative to stand out on our beaches.

Also, there should be trash cans for both recycling and trash. But not those big ugly cans.

I walk and run the beach every day. I bring a bag with me and pick up trash every day. I don’t wait for a special day or an event to happen. Why do we still have this problem on our beaches?

Blake Picket, Venice

Reflects on ‘sustainable cities’

To the Editor:

After reading several of the recent articles about planning, growth and citizens’ frustrations, I cannot help but think about what it takes to be a sustainable city or county.

I have looked for definitions of “sustainable cities.” One said, “Improving the quality of life in a city, including ecological, cultural, political, institutional, social and economic components without leaving a burden on the future generations.”

There are other definitions that are good, but they all include the need for the common good to be built on local assets and self-reliance.

The county and cities have certain expenses that grow, whether or not they do. The cost of government grows — administrative payroll, insurance, roads, maintaining utility services, and replacing old infrastructure. I would imagine that few city and county employees say they are paid enough for what they do.

In addition, since 9/11, citizens see the need for security. Police and fire departments, paramedics and others want up-to-date equipment in order to serve even the existing population better.

Could potential small communities such as Marina del Rey and Playa del Rey be economically sustainable as independent cities?

If Venice could get enough citizens together to mount a campaign to be a city, could the citizens support it? It would be a good project for community activists to look at.

Next, there is the question of what you would do if you were in the city council or county administrators seats, trying to keep up with growing costs and keep the citizens happy? I suspect that the result of all these planning meetings is for those from the government to say that they listened to the public.

Nevertheless, without looking at the long- and short-term economic sustainability of the entire region, the county will continue to develop to bring in tax dollars to support its overall needs. Hopefully, the officials will keep the costs lean and the services high, but in the end, an area’sÝcitizens get the tab.

This is not just a local issue. Anywhere you go, the more people who pay into the government, the less expensive it is per individual. In order that it does notÝleave the burden on the future generations (I am not even talking about retiring bonds), the costs have to be “pay as you go.” If not by sharing the costs through development, then what should be cut to bring it back to true sustainability?

Lilian Casselberry, Santa Monica

Says large roving LMU student parties in residential area are out of control

To the Editor:

I live in a pleasant little neighborhood in L.A. called Westchester. I used to think of it as L.A.’sÝsecret neighborhood because it used to be so very pleasant. However,ÝI am five blocks from an entrance to Loyola Marymount University, which bills itself as a Jesuit school.

Over the 13 years that I’ve lived here, approximately ten percent of the houses in this neighborhood have turned into rentalsÝby students or have been soldÝto students’ parents. WithinÝeach house, anywhere from one to ten students mayÝbe “on the lease,” plus an untold number with squatting rights.

With the advent of Facebook and instant messaging, and with the help of a blind eye from the university, the communication of huge parties has turned into a progressive event that encompasses a “Listserve” [an automatic Internet mailing list software program] of over 500 students.

My neighbors and I have been trying to address these increasingly large, unruly parties using the usual corporateÝmethods.

The universityÝessentially condones the activity, since itÝoccurs off-campus and the students are having fun. Fun is an important part of LMU student life, and you’ll see it advertised on their home page (at least it was last year).

LMU administration is glad that the damage is kept outside the perimeter of their grounds, and if a mediation is attempted, LMU front-loads the event so that there are roughly three students for every resident, and the mediation requires that the community release LMU from any responsibility for the students’ behavior, and to agree to not press charges against the student(s).

Calling the police is frustrating because we are no longer offered the option to file a complaint, and the party address is a moving target. If the dispatcher doesn’t have an address, nothing is done. If you say “There are about 500 students on the 7200 block of Altavan,” that may not be enough information.ÝFurthermore, the policeÝare ineffective, since they are completely outnumbered.

Saturday night, one of the houses (with female occupants) was charging admission, and there were young ladies walking around outside of the house with very short skirts,Ýwearing no panties. A preview, if you will.

What I find most interesting about this whole problem is the networking mentality that has led to the mob behavior.ÝInstant messaging has taken on a whole new role with respect to incitingÝdangerousÝactivity. This is Facebook coming alive.

These kids don’t think they’re doing anything wrong because they’re just having their 456 friends over for a drink before bed. Every night. The residents who actually live here feel absolutely helpless when pressed by a mob of this magnitude.

You can imagine the acts of aggression that are exchanged during these parades/parties, and the residents always lose. The students, on the other hand, feel more empowered as their crowd grows. It’s a win-win situation for them. They move and grow like a cancer and nothing can keep it in check.

I was born in 1958. When I was in high school and one of my friends’ parents went out for the night, I’d get a call. Then I’d call someone else. Then that person might call someone else. And we’d all get together at so-and-so’s house indoors and try not to make too big a mess or so-and-so would get in trouble.

This is the same type of activity, but it’s happening on a much larger scale with a flick of the wrist. And the stakes are much higher and the odds are in favor of the students. It’s effortless to communicate that these parties are happening, and instantaneous. And without repercussion.

Maybe it would be better to wait until something really horrific happens before the media gets involved. But if the media is the voice of the people, and I am a person, I would prefer to have the media involved to help prevent horrific outcomes when they’re just at the disgusting stage rather than to wait until horrific really happens.

Maya Mahue, Westchester