Thanks The Argonaut for years of community service

To the Editor:

When I moved to Venice in 1972 I began reading the “Argie,” and have read it ever since. Congratulations on surviving in the changing world of journalism and the service you provide your readers.

Tom Robischon, Del Rey

Comments on conflict between Coastal Commission, city over beach curfew

To the Editor:

Re: California Coastal Commission, city of L.A. at odds over city beach curfew law (Argonaut, Feb. 17):

Our city attorney would like to redefine “coastal development” in a way that better suits his client, but asserting that, “A ‘development’ in the California Coastal Act always refers to physical structures and things: buildings, walls, fences, etc.,” doesn’t make it so. There are miles of existing case law on this. Perhaps Mr. (Carmen) Trutanich will want to dispute the legitimacy of the courts next.

He is eager to blame the current dust-up over the Venice beach curfew on malfeasance by the Coastal Commission.

What he neglects to mention is the years of forbearance the commission afforded the city, which has repeatedly brushed off commission staff’s polite warnings.

In doing so, the city opens itself up to lawsuits by anyone arrested or cited under a law that “is currently of no legal force or effect.”

Unfortunately for the city, it was the city attorney’s and Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s bellicose responses to the commission’s overnight parking district (OPD) ruling that brought the curfew issue into public focus and thus put pressure on the commission to stop delaying enforcement of the Coastal Act.

Now let’s look at the “retaliation” in question. The commission has never ruled that Venice Beach couldn’t have a curfew; that is a red herring. Its staff simply warned that the existing curfew was not valid because the city never bothered to get approval from the proper authority, as it knew perfectly well it needed to.

What makes the city’s overheated rhetoric all the more meretricious is that the commission staff’s letters have repeatedly offered to help find a solution: “Staff feels that by working together within the coastal development permit context, we can achieve a positive resolution to this matter that is consistent with the Coastal Act.” Does that sound like retaliation?

It’s pretty funny hearing the city attorney, of all people, accuse the coastal commissioners of retaliation. His response to their ruling on OPDs in Venice was to sue the commission, while allegedly joining Rosendahl in a media campaign to discredit them, and at the same time, allegedly trying to sneak special legislation though Sacramento to create a special loophole for Venice OPDs.

Our city officials understandably bridle at what they see as usurpation of local powers by an outside body. Unfortunately for them and fortunately for the people of California, voters deliberately and overwhelmingly removed some local prerogatives almost four decades ago and put them in the hands of a state commission charged with protecting our coast as a state resource for all its citizens. All the chest beating and subterfuge are not likely to change that.

David Ewing, Venice

Seeks answers on vacant slip rates in Marina

To the Editor:

In 2007, the harbor in Marina del Rey was full and it was very difficult to find boat slips in any size category. We are now approaching 800-plus vacancies – nearly a fifth of the harbor is vacant.

Is this the economy and truly a lack of demand in boating in Los Angeles? Well, look at the nearest harbors in Channel Islands/Ventura and Redondo Beach that have only 4 percent and 5 percent vacancy rates, respectively, compared to 15 percent vacancy rate in Marina del Rey.

Shoreline in Long Beach and Cabrillo Marina in San Pedro have very few slips unoccupied. If it is the economy and a lack of demand, why are these other nearby harbors so much more successful?

The county of Los Angeles has a large deficit and is losing revenue by having so many boat slips empty. County officials contend that the slips are “at market rates.”

I have asked the county Board of Supervisors, the Small Craft Harbor Commission and the Department of Beaches and Harbors to give any explanation as to the large number of vacant slips in Marina del Rey, but received no real answers.

So many available boating and revenue opportunities being wasted just doesn’t make sense. I don’t understand the concept of vacancies and the use of “market rates.”

Jon Nahhas, Playa del Rey