Says article on AB 166 should have mentioned slip fee increases

To the Editor:

I was really concerned over the lack of information in the article on the governor’s signing of Assemblyman Ted Lieu’s bill on derelict boats in the October 15th issue of The Argonaut.

Absolutely no mention was given by the author of the out-of-control slip fee increases that have recently been levied on our boaters and that Mr. Lieu has referred to as a “local issue.” This is the most significant underlying reason as to why our boats are being abandoned. For the marina operators and county officials to ask the state for relief after raising the fees almost ten times the consumer price index would be laughable if it wasn’t so revolting. How can Lieu assert that these absurd increases are not his concern and that there is no relationship with the abandonment of boats?

There would absolutely be no question that if our legislators passed a bill on raising car registration fees by $1,000, the abandonment of older cars would be an epidemic. This bill will only help a significant few of our boaters looking to get out of the marina and the large monthly fees. More space will be made available for new boats.

Another important piece missing in this article is the idea of an affordable, do-it-yourself boatyard. The prices in the private boatyards in Marina del Rey have become even more expensive than what many considered were already too high.

If boaters were given the opportunity, like in Florida, to pull their boats out of the water for $25 and work on them — there would be considerably less derelict boats in the marina.

This would allow for a rejuvenation of the 61,000 registered boats in Los Angeles County and provide for a safer marine environment. Mr. Lieu seemed enthusiastic about this idea as it would drastically reduce the environmental damage of disposal and take some of the responsibility off of the state agencies.

Jon Nahhas, Playa del Rey

Says that AB 166 could also ensnare many responsible boat owners

To the Editor:

The Argonaut’s article on AB 166 (“Governor signs Lieu’s bill targeting derelict boats,” October 15th) neglects to mention that it does not provide a structure for implementation, which is left entirely up to the local jurisdiction. It also omits the doubled minimum fine ($1,000) on owners who abandon their boats.

AB 166 is not simply about “derelict” boats. It could also ensnare many responsible owners of highly valuable boats ousted by exorbitant slip fee hikes but unable to secure increasingly scarce land storage as well as acquire a trailer (plus a vehicle capable of towing it) in order to relocate their boat in a timely manner; and/or displaced boaters who are physically unable to trailer their boat; and/or owners who are trying to sell their boat, as fees and penalties accrue, but find potential buyers put off by these very obstacles.

We wonder how many of the boating groups that supported AB 166 were fully aware of its provisions, or of the lack of safeguards against potential abuse by local officials who also set or approve slip fees, and who blatantly consider waterfront land only for its revenue potential in real estate transactions.

Assemblyman Lieu was certainly aware of the abuse issue, because I personally spoke to him about it at the conclusion of his town hall meeting in August.

If Mr. Lieu intends to court the vote of the 61,000 registered boat owners in Los Angeles County, the majority of whom own boats under 35 feet, we recommend immediate follow-up legislation to remedy this [lack of safeguards], before we test the temptation for local governments to exploit it.

As for the county’s redevelopment plan, it is nothing less than a ship of fools for small boaters, and another nail in the coffin for the small boating industry. More than ever, we need a community-based master plan, one that invites our boating community to have a meaningful say in what is developed on this land that was paid for by the people of Los Angeles County and mandated for a small craft harbor and public recreation.

Nancy Vernon Marino, Co-Director, We ARE Marina del Rey

Praises Hefner’s work as MC for Jet to Jetty

To the Editor:

The heartfelt eulogies offered, one after another, at the Saturday, October 17th Memorial Service for Roy Hefner outlined a myriad of his community involvements and meaningful contributions.

One such, which was overlooked, was his commitment to the Airport Marina Counseling Service (AMCS) where, for 30 years, he was the voice of the Jet to Jetty 10K race, the clinic’s annual fundraising event.

As MC, Roy was to Jet to Jetty what Vin Scully is to the Dodgers — full of information he ad-libbed for three hours each time. He spoke with quick humor and a generous light touch to all the hard-working volunteers and the sweaty, panting runners.

It was another gift that keeps on giving and it is one of his many legacies not to be forgotten.

Mary Ellen Cassman, Westchester

Calls ficus tree up-lighting ‘an abomination’

To the Editor:

The tree up-lighting, as well as the entire Second and Fourth Street so-called pedestrian and streetscape improvement projects, are an abomination.

Apparently for “light show art,” atmosphere or for providing a cohesiveness to the area, the tree up-lighting wastes electricity, does not illuminate the narrow, dangerous sidewalks and obfuscates the natural beauty of the ficuses’ majestic, graceful silhouettes. (The pole lights adjacent to the trees provide sufficient lighting.)

Wounding the trees by screwing lighting apparatus into them exposes the trees to the newly discovered disease, Nattrassia, a fungal infection, and a related disease called Sooty Canker. These diseases are already killing ficus trees in Santa Monica because of the city’s longstanding improper and excessive branch and root pruning practices. And if that’s not enough, the tree up-lights, like the entire project, are hideous. The only cohesive factor they provide is ugliness.

If you want to get angry, check out Second and Fourth Streets. Our city killed 23 ficus trees, crucified the rest with ugly tree up-lights that are superfluous, planted gingko trees that are sticks half the year, and put in sidewalks that are unnavigable. That’s at least $8.2 million of our tax dollars at work, not including the value of the killed ficus trees appraised at approximately $750,000 and the salaries of all the City Hall employees involved.

The tree up-lights should be removed and the wounds to the trees sealed, for aesthetic reasons, for protecting our valuable urban forest, and for lessening the $25,300 budgeted annually for Second and Fourth streets from Colorado Avenue to Wilshire Boulevard for utility costs and bulb and pole replacement.

Susan J. Hartley, Santa Monica

Objects to use of the term ‘graffiti artists’ in our Pico Art Walk story

To the Editor:

In your October 15th issue, (“Pico Art Walk and Vintage Auto Show”) you describe the Pico Art Walk including interpretations by graffiti artists. The term “graffiti artist” is arguably one of the most offensive and abused oxymorons in the English language. The more accurate and proper designation is graffiti criminal, or, at minimum, graffiti vandal.

If one of these sociopaths “decorated” your Argonaut premises, would you be so enlightened as to applaud their work as artistic expression, or, would you call the police?

Steven Jayson

Playa Vista