Urges readers to get involved to protect California marine life

To the Editor:

Like many of you, I value the time I spend on the water with my friends and family. As a boat owner and CEO of Harbor Real Estate group, I feel fortunate to be able to intertwine my work and recreational pursuits in the ocean. I also feel a sense of responsibility to help ensure that we properly manage these resources so my children have the same opportunities to work and play in the ocean that I have had. It was with this in mind that I have become active in the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative.

Before I share how this relates to you, I need to take a step back and briefly explain the California Marine Life Protection Act and the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative. The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) was passed in 1999, requiring California to redesign its system of marine protected areas to, among other things, protect the natural diversity and abundance of marine life. As many of you may recall, there were two previous attempts to implement the MLPA, but these attempts suffered from a lack of both adequate resources and sufficient public involvement.

To address these challenges, a public-private partnership between the California Resources Agency, California Department of Fish and Game, and Resources Legacy Fund Foundation was formed, creating the MLPA Initiative. The MLPA Initiative is designed to help the State of California achieve the goals of the MLPA through a regional approach, and it reliesÝheavily on public involvement to inform the process.

Now I am sure that some of you are asking yourselves why I, an avid sport fisherman and yachtsman, would get involved in a program to further fishing restrictions in Southern California? The answer is simple ñ we all need to do our part to help ensure we are stewards of our marine resources for the use and enjoyment of future generations. I also firmly believe that the fishing, boating, sailing and diving communities possess a wealth of local knowledge that, when applied to the process, will help ensure we get this right. I therefore ask you, my fellow boaters, friends and business associates, to visit the MLPA Web site at www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/ and learn how you can get involved in this important process.

Greg Schem, member of MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force

Wants broken sidewalks fixed

To the Editor:

I’ve lived in Westchester the last eight years and only a couple of things bother me. When I am walking with my dogs and/or grandchildren, I avoid the corner of 80th and Emerson because of the dangerous sidewalk.

The very large tree there has pushed the sidewalk up almost three feet above ground and it is broken and split, causing a hazardous condition.

Why hasn’t this been taken care of?

Paul Roberts, Westchester

Marina del Rey projects not a ‘done deal’

To the Editor:

Many L.A. County residents whom I have talked to feel no purpose is served in opposing the county’s overdevelopment plans for Marina del Rey because they think all the projects are done deals.

This is simply not the case. Of the 16 development projects, only three have been approved and one of these is tied up in litigation and another has possibly been put on hold because of the financial crisis.

At this critical juncture, a coalition similar to the one which saved the Ballona Wetlands is needed to preserve the unique recreational nature of the Marina.

The county wants to take over five of the parking spaces in the western area of the Marina, including the Mothers Beach parking lot and the parking used by boaters and kayakers, to build a flurry of hotels, offices and apartments.

A review of the state of play of these projects shows that of the 13 not yet approved, six have so far made no application to the County Regional Planning Department, eight require California Coastal Commission approval for amendments to the Marina Coastal Plan and environmental impact reports have been drafted on only two.

At the very least, the county needs to be persuaded to draw up a Master Plan for the Marina so that these developments, put forward on a project-by-project piecemeal basis, do not lead to a parking nightmare and denial of public access to the area.

The California Coastal Commission at its last meeting hauled the county over the coals for its failure to provide a master plan and it is time for the county to fall in line with the Coastal Commissioners’ wishes.

If citizens are interested in saving this coastal gem for county leisure seekers and county dwellers of the future, they might consider contacting WeAreMarinadelRey (www.WeAreMDR.com), of which I am a member, or the Coalition to Save the Marina.

Bruce Russell, Marina del Rey

Regarding skateboards and firehouses

To the Editor:

Homeless boy on Venice Boardwalk can’t eat a skateboard. Empty fire stations, could he sleep there?

Robert Mogck