After her recent arrest, warns our readers about drunk driving

To the Editor:

First of all, let me congratulate you on a fabulously useful publication. I found my last job in The Argonaut. I feel that we (Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Rey) are a community unto our own and I appreciate a newspaper that caters to that. In that respect, I was hoping that I could send a message to that community, which I love dearly.

I was recently arrested for a DUI and I hope you will print this letter I wrote to strongly inform people of the dangers of the mistake I made.

I only had two drinks. Okay, two drinks of my own and half of my friendís drink. But I wasnít stumbling. I wasnít slurring. I was ìfine to drive.î I was maybe talking too much for my own good, as the very attractive bartender with the ringing ear will let you know, but I was ìfine.î I thought I was sober enough. I thought I wasnít a danger. I would never risk someone elseís life, much less my own. So I thought.

I thought wrong. I was so sure that I was sober that when the officer asked me for a breathalyzer test I was confident I would pass. Again wrong. I blew a point-one-six, double the legal limit. Now I could argue that I have a high constitution, that I can drink that much and still play Jenga, but again, I would be wrong. I was thinking, Iím 22 years old and the last time I was in trouble it was detention in tenth grade, I canít possibly be riding in the back of a cruiser with handcuffs. Surprise!

By the way, you donít want to go to jail. I couldnít sleep or eat the whole time I was there. And unless you enjoy having 11 strangers stare at you while you try to pee I donít think you will be able to either. Eighteen hours of voyeurism later, I realized that the consequences to myself (which are long and arduous, embarrassing, and expensive) are just the tip of the Titanic-sinking iceberg of a mistake I had made.

This could happen to anyone. I started wondering how many of my friends drive after knocking back a few. Do you? Do people you love? My breathalyzer reading proves there is no such thing as sober ìenough.î Go online and spend a few minutes Googling alcohol related fatalities. See how many people are there under the obituaries. Children. And mothers. And brothers. And friends. And I can guarantee you, the driver that caused it thought they were ìfine.î Now look what they have to live with because of that split-second decision to drive.

I was lucky. I didnít hit anyone. I didnít kill anyone. How easily could I have though? There are so many excuses: ìitís late no one is on the roads,î ìI canít afford a cab,î ìmy friend will kill me if I ask her to be a designated driver for me.î Yeah, theyíre all crap.

So please, do yourself (and whoever may be in your path) a favorÖ donít drive, even after one drink. Get a designated driver. Walk home. Take a cab. Drink at home, whatever it takes. You donít want to repeat my experience, and you donít want to hurt anyone. I can only be grateful that I didnít.

(name withheld), Venice

Objects to countyís claim that Marina doesnít need a master plan

To the Editor:

I would like to take issue with certain statements made by Beaches and Harbors director Santos Kreimann to the Marina Affairs Committee of the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce (Argonaut, March 26th).

Firstly Mr. Kreimann states that the countyís development plans for the Marina do not amount to piece-mealing. Mr. Kreimann seems to be working from a different dictionary than the rest of us.

What does the countyís dividing up its Marina Asset Management project into a number of parcels and pushing them through the permit process as if nothing existed around them amount to if it is not piece-mealing?

Secondly, he claims that the loosely framed Marina Local Coastal Program (LCP) which lays out goals and responsibilities for the Marina in accordance with the California Coastal Commission amounts to a master plan. Has Mr. Kreimann never seen a proper master plan? It should contain pages and pages of projections of traffic, parking, open space and sewage etc. together with artistsí renderings of what the overall development should look like.

Mr. Kreimannís presentation is part of a tiresome process known as ìspin.î He might consider another use of the word ìspin,î namely that if the county does not stop its piece-mealing and resistance to providing a proper master plan and give up on its idea of grabbing protected public parking lots for private development, its whole Marina development may spin out of control.

Bruce Russell, Marina del Rey

ëStunnedí that county would say LCP amendment would suffice

To the Editor:

I am absolutely stunned that a county official would state to the public that an LCP amendment can suffice to update a 13-year-old plan. Amendments are all too frequently used to permit a developer to override an important public concern.

An example is the LCP amendment that was used to override the provision that mountain views encircling the Marina be preserved. The LCP amendment I have in mind allowed all the buildings on the north side of Admiralty Way (recently built and soon to be built) to be built at a height that blocks out all views of the Santa Monica Mountains.

The amendment process is pro-developer as it should be if big profits are to be the measure for the development of public land.

In most cases the public is too busy earning a living and raising a family to follow the development process all over the county and on to Coastal Commission meetings in Oxnard, Ventura and Oceanside. It has always befallen a group of

dedicated activists to shine the light on possibly chicanery and to inform the public.

Lynne Shapiro, Marina del Rey

Why is there a locked gate on the dock at Mothers Beach?

To the Editor:

The county recently installed a gate which must have cost several thousand dollars (and which is kept locked 24/7) on the gangway for the public dock/pier at Mothers Beach. This after spending to install a new dock and ramp just a couple of years ago.

This dock had been enjoyed by the public for 50 years and used consistently without any problems.

I and many others would like to know why this decision was made and why the public was not informed. Not only does the public use this as an access to the water, but this past Friday two harbor patrol officers responding to an emergency had to climb over the gate to get access to the land. Why?

Don Currie, Marina del Rey