County ignores ‘reality of life’ in Marina; need more free and metered parking

In the recent article [The Argonaut, April 19th, &#8220Officials respond to YouTube video on Admiralty Way pedestrian safety”] concerning the parking lot across Admiralty Way from the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, David Sommers of Don Knabe’s office is quoted as saying that &#8220The county-owned Lot #7 is meant for people visiting Admiralty Park… and not intended for use by individuals visiting the Ritz-Carlton….”

As usual, another Los Angeles County official ignores a reality of life in the Marina to make a point supportive of County Asset Management strategies.

Admiralty Park is the neighborhood park that thousands of residents of the Oxford Triangle, Silver Triangle, and President’s Row neighborhoods, as well as the Marina Pointe and Mirabella apartments and the Marina City Club, Regatta, Azzurra, and Cove condo towers visit on foot, bikes, and skates.

Very few visitors will pay the $3 entry fee (let alone $5 summer fee) to take a walk in our little sliver of a green belt. From a practical standpoint, there is no public parking in or near Admiralty Park.

The inconvenient reality is that Public Lot #7 at the north end of Admiralty Park, like most public lots in Marina del Rey, is usually empty because there is no free or metered parking. When Lot #7 is utilized, it is used by film crews, construction crews, or folks attending special private events at the Ritz-Carlton, often with special parking arrangements.

The south end of the park is also a Grasscrete parking lot used just a few times a year for special events.

Though Marina del Rey was created to provide recreational facilities for Los Angeles County residents and visitors, the Department of Beaches and Harbors officials have carefully developed policies to discourage the public from stopping to enjoy the recreational possibilities the Marina offers.

Since the [high-priced] parking lots are underutilized, county officials argue that they are not needed and would better serve the county as sites for massive development.

The only free parking in the Marina is by validation in restaurant lots. Burton Chace Park is a busy park because there is reasonably-priced metered parking. If officials at Beaches and Harbors wanted to encourage recreational use, they would start by offering free or metered parking in all Marina lots.

Steve Freedman

Marina del Rey

Critical of county supervisors’ ‘grandiose plan’; would like more Argonaut coverage

To the Editor:

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has a grandiose plan to destroy whatever is left of recreational access for all residents of Los Angeles County.

Among plans under way are time-share hotels and high-rises; density that does not address the increase in traffic problems that we already have.

But the worst of all is the lack of coverage The Argonaut gives to the situation. The Daily Breeze of April 27th had a front page headline regarding the overbuilding. I would rather get my news from The Argonaut.

Lenore Ritkes

Marina del Rey

[Editor’s note: The Argonaut’s Marina del Rey reporter, Helga Gendell, covers these developments on a regular basis. See her in-depth story on page 6 of this week’s Argonaut.]

‘Public outreach process’ does not satisfy need for Marina Master Plan

To the Editor:

Re: &#8220Marina del Rey Local Coastal Program not to be reviewed until October” (The Argonaut, April 19th):

The Marina del Rey Asset Management Strategy (AMS), upon which the Los Angeles County Department of BeachesÝand Harbors bases its solicitations and negotiations for redevelopment, is at odds with our Local Coastal Program (LCP), which contains all of the certified policies and laws that are intended to govern that redevelopment.

The Asset Management Strategy claims it is the county’s responsibility to maximize the revenue potential of the land parcels in Marina del Rey.

In fact, our LCP charges the county with maximizing revenue from the recreational use of those parcels. Funny how the omission of a simple phrase opens the door for greed to step in and rob all county residents of what rightfully belongs to us, inviting private exploitation by and for those who already hold most of the marbles.

Only it is not funny — not funny at all. A comprehensive Master Plan for Marina del Rey is urgently needed to address conflicting land use demands, as well as traffic, safety, infrastructure, boating, environmental and other cumulative impacts.

The Asset Management Strategy does not address, let alone resolve, these concerns.

Furthermore, the piecemeal development progressing under its auspices will saddle Los Angeles County taxpayers with huge bills toÝcombat the economic, social and environmental ills that will inevitably result from theÝneglect of overall planning.

The Department of BeachesÝand Harbors is mistaken if it believes that the &#8220public outreach process” they promised to unveil this summer, seeking to validate its Asset Management Strategy by offering public participation in &#8220updating” it, satisfies the demand for a Master Plan.

In the meantime, the county is aggressively pursuing preliminary, secondary and final approvals for no less than 16 individual projects, at least five of which require from one to three major LCP amendments apiece to make them legal.

Nancy Vernon Marino

Marina del Rey

Complains of planned service cut on MTA line 115 to Playa del Rey

To the Editor:

As an employee who works in Playa del Rey and relies on the 115 bus line to get to work, I am furious with the MTA (Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority) board of directors’ plans to cut service on the 115 bus line to the Playa del Rey area.

I have been collecting signatures to protest the service cut, but have found out that today (April 26th) the board sent out a final notice and refuses to reconsider.

I say that we should reconsider whether Mayor Villaraigosa and his &#8220stoolies” should all be recalled. There is a big difference between riding a bus for publicity’s sake and depending on it to get to your job.

Congratulations! Unemployment is now at an all time high in Playa del Rey, thanks to soulless bureaucrats who take limos to &#8220work.”

Steven Fritchie


Recalls ‘the old days’ at Santa Monica Airport; complains of noise today

To the Editor:

I have lived in Venice, one- half mile southwest of the Santa Monica Airport for 30 years. Back then, the airport was rarely a nuisance.

On the weekends you could watch vintage planes soar above our neighborhood, which was entertaining at worst.

In the old days, the flight pattern restrictions mandated that the aircraft continue on to the coast prior to turning. Jets were also either prohibited or had flight hour restrictions later on.

For those non-airport area residents who say that those of us who live in this area &#8220knew what we were getting into” when we purchased our property in this neighborhood need to do some research.

Times have changed, all right. Evidently the flight patterns have changed so that aircraft are allowed to fly directly over my backyard, which is to the left of the runway end.

It is impossible to have a phone conversation on Fridays and Sundays when the air traffic is particularly busy. During the summer, when windows and doors are open in the evening, TV sound is drowned out, usually during a critical moment of conversation on my favorite program. Thank goodness for TiVo, which lets me replay that portion after the plane has passed.

The small planes are sometimes just as bad. Especially the ones that are over my house, flying very low, and sounding like &#8220the little engine that could.” It’sÝa miracle sometimes that they even make it.

I was diagnosed with asthma five-and-a-half years ago and now must use a steroid-based inhaler twice daily in order to breath. Hmm.

Venice and Mar Vista carry a great deal of the burden of the now overgrown &#8220community” airport. Like a family that outgrows its home and must move on to accommodate unplanned growth, Santa Monica Airport needs to be restricted, at least, to accommodate its residential community location.

All this, and I can’t even walk my dogs in Santa Monica’s dog park? I’m sure many Santa Monica residents use Venice’s Penmar Park to exercise their dogs and those who don’t care for the dog park dynamics will continue to do so. Sounds like &#8220dog park police” is the new career opportunity.

Denise Kallel


Pilot defends need for Santa Monica Airport

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to last week’s article &#8220Protesters demonstrate against nuisances at airport.” [The Argonaut, April 26th].

As an active pilot who is involved with general aviation at the Santa Monica Airport, I disagree with Bill Rosendahl’s statement, &#8220This airport’s purpose is no longer necessary…”

In times of disaster or emergency, Santa Monica Airport is well positioned to be of great value for the community as a staging point for medical treatment, supplies, and as a base of operations when dealing with disasters both natural and man-made.

Numerous agencies work out of the airport, such as television news helicopters, Santa Monica Police Department, The Civil Air Patrol, Santa Monica Emergency Air Corps, The Flying Doctors of Mercy and Angel Flight, to name a few. If your child was lost in the mountains it is highly likely that a search and rescue team would be dispatched from Santa Monica Airport.

When the Santa Monica Farmers Market infamous vehicle crash occurred, Santa Monica Airport was a rallying point for emergency medical airlift by helicopter to other hospitals because Santa Monica’s local hospitals were overwhelmed.

Aviation engineers are currently developing and building technology that significantly reduces aircraft noise and pollution. It is my hope that Southern California takes the lead in reducing pollution in our automobiles as well as our aircraft.

I would also like to point out that a children’s park was recently installed on the grounds of the Santa Monica Airport, so I assume the politicians and concerned citizens must believe the air quality is fine for their kids.

Benjamin Schick


(Schick is a Search and Rescue Pilot, Liga Pilot ñ Flying Doctors of Mercy, Sierra Club & GreenPeace Member)

‘We have the right and responsibility’ to complain about Santa Monica Airport

To the Editor:

There is a common misperception that Santa Monica Airport was here before the neighborhood grew around it. However, in reviewing a recent UCLA legal analysis of the 1984 agreement between Santa Monica and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), I was surprised to find that the existence of homes preceded the airport.

Furthermore, Santa Monica Airport was not designed for jets. The agreement between the City of Santa Monica and the FAA was predicated upon the original fleet mix, which also did not include jets. Now, larger and larger jets, and more and more of them, use the airport each year.

Homes around Santa Monica Airport are closer to the runway ends than any other airport in the state. In addition, the airport has no buffer zones, which are considered to be so important that Congress recently required that all commercial airports install runway safety areas.

By the FAA’s own guidelines, if Santa Monica Airport were newly built, it would require 1,000 feet of clearance on both ends of the runway in order to accommodate the kind of jets that are currently in use.

My main concern is the jet pollution, which I have been able to smell consistently from my home for the past ten years.

When my son was in seventh grade, he did a study with the guidance of environmental scientists from UCLA, USC and the California Air Resources Board, and found that jets from Santa Monica Airport spew forth gobs of highly toxic ultrafine particles that infiltrate the community.

The levels that he found were five times higher than what you would find near a freeway and 40 times more concentrated than what you would find in a sample of air. This spawned a series of studies by distinguished scientists that have confirmed his findings.

Pollution from automobiles is expected to decline over the next 15 years; pollution from aircraft (and ships) has been forecast to rise.

Air quality authorities in California believe that in order to achieve ozone standards, they must regulate airport sources of pollution beyond current federal standards.

This is why we have the right, and responsibility, to complain.

Ping Ho

Santa Monica

Wonders why Palmdale Airport has languished while LAX congestion grows

To the Editor:

Why is the obvious solution to LAX [Los Angeles International Airport] overcrowding routinely ignored by our elected officials and LAWA [Los Angeles World Airports] administration?

Decades ago, Los Angeles purchased property in Palmdale with the intention of developing a modern airport where there is plenty of room. Why has it languished in disuse while the congestion around LAX grows worse?

I do not advocate the complete relocation of L.A.’s principal airport, but there is enough population to support both locations, especially since the Santa Clarita Valley has experienced major growth over the past decades.

Besides, with the congestion on the 405 freeway, it probably takes less time to drive from the San Fernando Valley to Palmdale than to LAX, especially during peak driving times.

Thomas F. Brands

Los Angeles