Makes points regarding the growing congestion in the Marina and Venice areas

To the Editor:

I agree with the letter in the November 8th issue of The Argonaut, “Why should Mothers Beach be given to hotel guests from the other 49 states?”

Mothers Beach [officially Marina Beach] bears its nickname for a reason — because families that live here in Marina del Rey and Venice can bring small children here to enjoy the water.

The recent development plans for this area are out of control. We would all like to see a few decent neighborhood-type restaurants come in, but not all this.

Parking is a huge issue for our neighborhood on the north side of Washington Boulevard. The California Coastal Commission will not approve residential permit-parking-only here. The proposed developments do not include employee parking. That means those employees will be parking on our streets.

There isn’t enough parking for the residents on street-cleaning day, as it is. Also, street cleaning and garbage pickup on Mondays triples the problem.

Traffic is just getting worse and drivers are getting more impatient. You can’t move your car on any given Sunday after noon in the summer. The summer shuttle service is a joke. I never see anyone using it.

Another issue is, why is Ocean Avenue (between Washington and Venice Boulevards) being repaved? It was fine. Beach Avenue could benefit from repaving, as well as a few of the other side streets. Why are we spending tax dollars on things that don’t need fixing?

The number of buildings that have gone up on Glencoe Avenue is insane. That street is not capable of handling that much traffic.

We need to get this under control.

Mary Donaldson, Venice

Family of late John Barriga grateful for support from community and friends

To the Editor:

On behalf of my family, I want to express our appreciation for the tremendous outpouring of sympathy and support that we received upon the death of our husband and father, John Barriga.

We have always felt blessed to be members of such a wonderful and intimate community and your support is a great comfort to us.

John’s favorite holiday was Thanksgiving, so the coming week will be a difficult one for us, as we adjust to life without him.

At the same time, Thanksgiving is about family and community and about being grateful for the blessings we have. While the pain of John’s death will be with our family forever, we will celebrate Thanksgiving knowing that our community — the community that John loved and served — has in turn given us much to be grateful for.

I want to thank the Westchester, Playa del Rey and El Segundo communities for their love and friendship.

Thank you and happy Thanksgiving.

Windri G. Barriga, Westchester

Editor’s note: John Barriga was a husband, a father of three, the leader of Boy Scout Troup 927 and a former member of the Rotary Club of Westchester. He died October 4th of a heart attack at 52 years of age.

Why not build affordable, ‘inviting, well-planned villages’ in less crowded areas ‘outside the congested cities’?

To the Editor:

During her Town Hall appearance at Venice High School November 10th, Gail Goldberg, director of the Los Angeles City Planning Department, endured extended comments (some thoughtful, some less so) from local residents. However, during the two hours I attended, no one asked her to address the horrendous traffic that is strangling the city, particularly, the Westside.

Goldberg knows, better than most, that Los Angeles is the most congested city in America. She knows the cost of such congestion in time, fuel, pollution, and the appalling degradation of our quality of life. Yet, the major part of Saturday’s discussion addressed the inevitable growth of our city.

I would like to propose a different solution to our intractable urban dilemma — one based on Goldberg’s own cherished “city of villages” concept.

But we must first address some of the poisonous ideas now being floated. We need to end the bogus pronouncements asserting that “smart growth” around transit hubs will diminish congestion. No evidence supports the delusion that, somehow, greater density will result in less traffic. Much evidence refutes it. Ask any commuter.

Even worse is the market approach to affordable housing foisted upon us by State Senate Bill (SB) 1818 in 2004. That law requires the city to allow developers to ignore zoning rules and grossly overbuild, in return for a few affordable housing units. Typically, density, height and parking bonuses awarded for an (unregulated) agreement to make ten percent of new development “affordable” units is a bonanza for developers, and a miserably inadequate sop to an increasingly desperate working class.

SB 1818 has destroyed California cities’ ability to plan rationally, and city governments should challenge the constitutionality of that outrageous law. SB 1818 obstructs planning, enriches developers, and grossly exacerbates our already tragic traffic problems.

I would like to propose a revolutionary idea. Let the Los Angeles Department of City Planning, together with the City Council and mayor, the county, neighboring cities and counties, and the state, cooperate to identify promising underdeveloped areas (where land would be less costly) outside the congested cities, and plan, in cooperation with deep-pocket developers — the Eli Broads, the Ahmansons, the Burkles, the Lieweckes, the Carusos, even with our old friend Steve Soboroff (of Playa Vista infamy) — to build integrated new townships that include a business district, shopping centers, theaters, rational transportation, housing and schools for the people who would work there.

Such multibillion-dollar visionary developments should be encouraged by providing tax benefit incentives to the developers (instead of offering tax incentives to the current development strangling the central city with massive new construction).

The goal of this vision would be (here’s the revolutionary part) to stop planning on how to absorb new growth, and begin planning to reduce the population of Los Angeles by, say, one-half percent a year over a 20-year period. The space freed by such a reduction could then be transformed into the parks, the community gardens, the recreational centers we all dream of.

Three results — the incoming population would live in new and inviting, well-planned villages close to jobs and amenities; the rest of us would live in a less congested Los Angeles that actually responds to the wishes and the needs of its population; and the developers would make a ton of money.

Marvin Klotz, Venice

Warns shoppers about car theft

To the Editor:

Shoppers beware of car thieves.

I went shopping in Westchester three weeks ago and my car was stolen from the parking lot during the 45 minutes that I was gone. It was locked, too.

It was later found in South Los Angeles — engine, transmission, seats etc. all gone.

So just beware over there while shopping.

Stephanie Pursch, Los Angeles