Serviceman, former Marina resident keeps up with Argonaut overseas

To the Editor:

As a member of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed overseas, I’m grateful for my Argonaut subscription, which keeps me connected with my adopted hometown of Marina del Rey.

Prior to my current assignment here at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, I had the privilege of residing in Marina del Rey for five years while I was stationed at Los Angeles Air Force Base.

In the photo I’m sending to you along with my letter, I’m flanked by some of my fellow unit members here at Kadena. The individuals pictured to my right are U.S. Air Force pararescuemen and a survival specialist, who recently returned from a two week deployment to Northern Japan, where they helped rescue survivors following the recent large earthquake and tsunami there.

While national defense is the primary mission of the U.S. military, it’s our roles in peace-keeping and humanitarian missions that always make me the most proud.

I want to encourage the Argonaut staff to keep up the great work with your newspaper. I always read the Argonaut each week from cover to cover. I especially enjoy your progressively-focused articles, which cover topics such as the efforts to effect a citywide ban on single-use plastic bags, the well-placed concerns of many Marina residents about looming overdevelopment, and the conservation efforts going on in the Ballona Creek area.

We’re all blessed to have a country that allows participatory government, and it’s inspiring to regularly read about the many caring residents of the Westside who take time for things like attending town hall meetings, as well as engaging in community activism in other ways.

Thank you to The Argonaut for highlighting the actions of those who are trying to make the Westside, as well as the world, a better place to live.

Lt. Col. J. Eric Bermudez, Flight Surgeon 31st Rescue Squadron, Kadena AB, Japan

The following background information was provided by Bermudez:

I am an Air Force doctor and family physician. I work with the 31st Rescue Squadron as their medical director and I train the pararscuemen assigned to the unit, in order to help them stay current on their medical skills. (They’re all certified paramedics, in addition to being rescue specialists, similar to Navy SEALS).

In my other job, I work at the Kadena Air Base clinic where I help provide medical care for the pilots, aircrew, and family members stationed here with the U.S. Air Force.

Before coming to Japan, I spent a year in Saudi Arabia, as the medical director for the U.S. military base near the capitol, Riyadh. Just like now, when I was there in Riyadh, I always looked forward to receiving my copy of the Argonaut every week.

Seeks answers on broken sidewalks

To the Editor:

Who is responsible for the broken sidewalks in our city? If you walk around the streets in Westchester you cannot but notice the awful-looking sidewalks around our neighborhood.

One house in particular has large sections of sidewalk material missing and large pieces of sidewalk piled up near the curb. It has been this way for months.

Don’t these people take any pride in their neighborhood? How must their next-door neighbors feel? It also looks like it could be a dangerous situation.

Scott Whyte, Westchester

Says other services need to use Westchester lot chosen for housing program

To the Editor:

I am responding to the article regarding Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s vehicle to housing plan (Argonaut, March 31). I appreciate his open-mindedness and his willingness to help people.

The problem I have with the plan, noted in the article, is his usage of the council office lot in Westchester. This lot is used by the community. If we want to go to the public library, the senior center or the park we utilize the parking lot.

Aren’t there parking lots in the area that are not used? Unfortunately, I can not recommend a parking lot but I think this one in Westchester is too easy for Mr. Rosendahl to point at since it’s the one located for his district office.

Tricia Grace, Playa del Rey

Says minimum distance law needed between jets and homes at airport

To the Editor:

Last August, the California Legislature passed then Assemblyman Ted Lieu’s Joint Resolution “AJR 41” calling on the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), DOT (Department of Transportation), and the members of the state congressional delegation to work collaboratively to review noise levels, safety of flight operations and examine air pollution impacts on the communities that surround Santa Monica Airport (SMO), including the establishment and implementation of a reasonable minimum distance between aircraft operations and the neighboring communities.

Following up on the passage of AJR 41, I, along with several other representatives of SMO-impacted Los Angeles neighborhoods, representatives from the scientific community, and Norman Kulla, representing Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, met with Rep. Henry Waxman on Sept. 1, 2010.

I asked Waxman if he would champion legislation that would establish a minimum distance between jet blast and homes. Indeed, if such a standard minimum distance were established, jets would no longer be able to operate at SMO, eliminating the need to argue about class C and D aircraft, saving both time and money and getting to the root of the problem.

If Congress goes on record rejecting the establishment of a minimum distance, then the U.S. government would be held accountable for any deaths and illnesses that could be attributed to jet emissions.

As it stands, Waxman’s amendment at best will continue the useless polarized discussions between the immovable FAA and the city of Santa Monica. If Santa Monica yields on runway safety, how will that benefit the community? The community continues to be put in harm’s way while the two entities, responsible for SMO, discuss their options.

Even if the FAA gives Santa Monica the C and D ban, the problem of jet fumes blowing into the homes and neighborhoods less than 300 feet from the jet blast will remain because thousands of jets will still be able to use SMO.

It is the jet exhaust blowing into homes that is the most morally shocking of the injustices forced on Santa Monica Airport neighbors, violating accepted standards of decency and morality.

This is a matter of great concern for the hundreds if not thousands of families who are forced to breathe toxic jet fumes on a daily basis. Let’s not argue whether it’s a safety or a health concern; it’s both. The time is now to enact needed legislation, not just hollow talk, which will truly make it safe for all Santa Monica Airport neighbors.

Martin Rubin

Los Angeles