Westchester resident says ‘Let us have what is left of our community’s open space’

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to recent articles published about the bluffs, Cabora Road and Playa Vista.

To say it was a shock to Westchester residents when a chain-link fence went up along the eastern end of Cabora Road is an understatement. People were disgusted, angered and confused, to name but a few emotions voiced during that fateful Thanksgiving weekend. Add to that fence an aggressive patrol force, harassing residents out for walks with their dogs and families on what should have been a lovely holiday weekend.

The long and short of it is this: the collective residents of Westchester do not agree that this fence and patrol is a “win-win” situation for anyone. In fact, we feel it’s a travesty.

Families have used these canyons and this road for decades. Many grew up playing and exploring here, and now bring their own children to experience what little open space is left. The bluffs are a special and sentimental area for hundreds of Westchester residents. Fencing it off and aggressively patrolling it is offensive both to the naked eye and to the heart of the community.

These actions do nothing to promote affability or a neighborly manner, as Playa Vista so often states are its intentions in local propaganda, and everything to induce anger, hurt and reaction.

Not until Playa Vista declared it so did anyone consider hiking in the canyons or walking on Cabora Road to be “trespassing,” and there was never a “crescendo point” of incidences — as Playa Vista spokesman Steve Sugerman stated — that instigated the fence erection.

There were a few neighbors who lodged complaints, and it was because of these few people that Playa Vista acted as it did. Sugerman insists that there were “dozens of complaints,” but when asked to present a log of these complaints, had nothing in the way of proof.

It would be tragic to lose such a treasured sanctuary because of a handful of people who rarely, if ever, use the area, but believe they should be able to determine its use based on principle.

In addition, Playa Vista insists that the fences and the patrol are there to protect the “sensitive habitat” of the canyons and the bluffs. However, there are plenty of neighbors in our area who are avid environmentalists, and they counter that there is nothing sensitive about the canyon vegetation. Nor is there anything sensitive about the vegetation on the northerly down-slope of Cabora Road. In fact, Playa Vista scraped that entire hillside clear of any and all natural vegetation, installed an irrigation system and planted its own landscaping.

Playa Vista’s insistence that the fence and patrol are protection for the environment is an intellectual affront and a hypocrisy of colossal magnitude.

In an act of good faith and true neighborly brotherhood, we request that Playa Vista remove the fence and patrol from our neighborhood. Do the right thing and let us have what is left of our community’s open space. It would be human, sympathetic and neighborly, and would go a long way toward making local residents more amenable to your community as a whole if things return to status quo.

Lara McGlashan, Westchester

Dislikes new fence below LMU

To the Editor:

I am dismayed and appalled at the new fence on the south side of the fire road below Loyola Marymount University (LMU) designed to keep hikers, bikers and off-leash dogs out of the canyons and hillsides. This last bit of open space has been a haven for 50 years for some local residents, and for me and my dog — yes, my off-leash dog — for three years, where we have both found fun and companionship while taking a great morning hike.

Granted, there is some graffiti, a little, but not done by dog people, I can assure you. Despite Playa Vista’s claims that the habitat is being destroyed, it’s little more than scrub grass and a few trees. No homeowners have complained in the three years that I’ve been there.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s support of the fence is a cave-in to the developers who bamboozled the City Council, and who have now been ordered to stop construction on Phase Two of Playa Vista because their EIRs (environmental impact reports) aren’t in order. It’s ironic that they’re using [protection of] the environment as an excuse for the fence when it seems to me that they have destroyed every bit of open space they’ve touched.

The proposal that the area be designated an off-leash dog area would make more sense, and would recognize a crying need in the city for one last open space where dogs can be, wellÖ dogs.

Karen Jones, Venice

Objects to bluffs fence and enforcement of leash laws

To the Editor:

For decades the bluffs and ravines in Westchester have been a wonderful place for residents, their kids and their dogs. We’ve hiked them, explored them, played games in them, and we’ve done it safely.

All of that changed on November 21st when Playa Vista installed new fencing on the bluffs at Cabora Road, suddenly blocking access to one of the last bits of open space in Westchester.

This sudden restriction of access and new draconian enforcement of the leash laws by private security and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is a major and severe offense to those of us who live in the area and have used the bluffs and Cabora Road long before Playa Vista was ever here.

Playa Vista claims they are responding to large numbers of complaints about hikers and off-leash dogs. But neither Playa Vista nor the city can quantify the complaints. Equally credible sources claim it is a large number of complaints from a small number of people.

Playa Vista also contends that they are protecting the bluffs from erosion by trail use, and protecting the habitat. And yet, they send weed-whacking crews into the ravine every year to denude the hills for fire protection. No one argues with fire protection. But no one can tell me that it does less damage than hikers and dogs.

The bottom line is that for the vast majority of residents and visitors, dog owners and non-owners alike, the status quo has worked for decades.

This fencing is a blight and an eyesore, and its installation makes Playa Vista look like a very bad neighbor.

I am also upset at the part Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl has had in this. He is quoted in a press release as calling this a “win-win for visitors and residents.” This is a huge loss for all of us who have been affected.

Let Councilman Rosendahl and Playa Vista know how you feel. Bring down these fences and restore the status quo on Cabora Road.

Brad Kurtz, Westchester

Appreciates Holiday Boat Parade, but not its shortening

To the Editor:

On behalf of the thousands of people who view the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade each year, I would like to thank all the boaters who put in the time, effort and expense to keep a wonderful holiday tradition alive.

Hundreds of us who sit at the far west end of the parade route on both sides of the channel would like to bring an issue to the attention of the boat parade committee — and that is the shortening of the parade route each year.

The boaters have said that they cannot see anyone sitting in those areas (even though the north side is a lit parking area). This year’s solution was to hand out free glow tubes to those viewers so the boaters can see that we are there. Also a marker boat with a judge and photographer was to be anchored at the far west end of the channel to signify the turn-around point.

ResultÖ the shortest parade yet. Ten minutes into the event the marker boat began drifting east back into the Marina.

By 6:20 p.m. the parade route was halfway back from where it should have been. By 6:30 p.m. hundreds of spectators from both sides of the channel were gone.

Families with young children in wagons and strollers, elderly people and those in wheelchairs who are unable to chase the boats back into the Marina left very disappointed, once again shut out of the wonderful event.

I am sure we all look forward to the 46th annual boat parade next year. Hopefully the contestants will look forward to everyone enjoying the beautiful ideas they dream up, not only those who view from within the Marina, but all of us at the west end also.

Dan Stefanowicz, Playa del Rey