Wants update on remodel plans for Fisherman’s Village

To the Editor:

In the issue of July 23rd, The Argonaut ran a photo of the picturesque Fisherman’s Village in Marina del Rey.

I remember a few years ago a redevelopment project was proposed to tear down the existing buildings and replace them with a very industrial looking shopping mall, along with carnival rides and a parking garage.

At the time, I was very disappointed that they would do away with the quaint Fisherman’s Village look.

I know that the present “village” has had a problem with low occupancy for many years, and I assume the bad economy has delayed any project, but in the meantime, I sure enjoy the view!

Would you please update the status of Fisherman’s Village?

Gene Patrick, Westchester

The Fisherman’s Village renovation project is in the process of a shared parking analysis after documents were filed with the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning in May, 2007, according to January 2009 documentation from Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors.

Argonaut reporter, Helga Gendell

CRAAP founder wants to thank Sen. Barbara Boxer and Councilman Bill Rosendahl

To the Editor:

Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution (CRAAP) gives a heartfelt “Thank you!” to both U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl.

On July 20th, Senator Boxer, chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, sent a letter to Randolph Babbitt, the new FAA Administrator under President Obama, in which she asks that Babbitt review requests of citizens in the Santa Monica area to study the effects of exhaust pollution on neighborhoods closest to Santa Monica Airport (SMO) operation areas and to take appropriate action under FAA jurisdiction.

Councilman Rosendahl and his senior counsel, Norman Kulla, assisted me in my efforts to brief Senator Boxer about the critical concerns SMO neighbors have. Their efforts acted as a microphone for our concerns.

As founders of CRAAP, my wife Joan and I are very encouraged that Senator Boxer has taken the acknowledgement of our concerns regarding invasive toxic aircraft emissions to a new level. We feel that it is a violation of our basic Constitutional right, to have the atmosphere we breathe in our own residential living quarters invaded by toxic aircraft exhaust.

By 1989 the FAA and the City of Santa Monica were already aware that exhaust from idling jets has a harmful effect on human health as well as instrumentation situated within 300 feet of the jet blast. It is well documented that there are homes within 300 feet of jet blast at SMO.

After 20 years of exposure to increasing levels of jet air pollution from Santa Monica Airport, our neighborhoods deserve immediate relief. Jets can not use Santa Monica Airport without exposing residents to toxic emissions. The odors are obvious for more than a mile from the runway ends. The owners and operators of airports and aircraft must understand that they have a responsibility not to put people in harms way.

Joan and I, on behalf of Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution, ask that other government officials join with Senator Boxer and Councilman Rosendahl in their efforts to correct this unconscionable environmental injustice.

To view Senator Boxer’s letter visit www.jetairpollution.com/.

Martin Rubin, West Los Angeles, director Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution

Thanks ‘Concerts in the Park’ for ‘Night at the Opera’

To the Editor:

We want to use the widespread readership of your newspaper to thank “Concerts in the Park” for their magnificent performance, “A Night at the Opera” on the evening of July 23rd.

The orchestra was brilliant. The direction by maestro Frank Fetta was impeccable. The voices were thrilling. We were surprised by our own enthusiasm for a completely vocal program but we were enthralled. The singers brought the characters to life. The arias were not just familiar, but they took us to La Scala, to the Metropolitan, and around the world in spirit.

We have been attending “Concerts in the Park” in Marina del Rey since their inception. They are always good, but this one was outstanding. Through your newspaper we wish to thank maestro Frank Fetta, the orchestra, county officer Virginia Borton and all the L.A. County officers who make the concerts possible. We appreciate living and participating in Marina del Rey.

Paul and LaVerne Simon, Marina del Rey

Frequent seller at Venice Boardwalk responds to letter about space lottery

To the Editor:

In response to the letter “Questions fairness of Venice boardwalk space allocation” in the July 30th issue:

The writer said she attended the Tuesday Boardwalk space allocation lottery as an observer and felt that there appeared to be widespread frustration with the system. She got the impression that there were problems and violations of the rules causing resentment of the so-called “commercial vendors” there.

From my perspective as a participant, not casual observer, that is an overstated claim.

I am an artist and have been showing and selling my art and jewelry designs on Venice Beach, on and off, since 1978. I am a permit holder, not a casual observer, and have been in the lottery process for the past two years. I have a state sales tax permit to sell and I abide by all of the regulations that govern the public use of the beach.

There are problems with the lottery system. There are problems with every regulation system that tries to find a balance of operation in a fluid situation like this large and active public beach area. But what the writer failed to observe was the overriding benefits derived from this lottery system.

The staff of the Parks and Recreation Department beach office has to take care of a popular beach and then also regulate, monitor and administer the longest public use strip in California. Given their challenging responsibilities they do a fine job of trying to keep a balance between uses. Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) 42.15 is a complex ordinance and not easily enforced.

And it is a lottery, after all. Every one of us who puts our card in the tumbler has the same chance of being selected. When we get a space we are happy about it. When we are not selected we grumble at our bad luck. That is the nature of a blind selection process.

The writer may be new to this area, or Boardwalk activity, and may not have a historical perspective. The use of the boardwalk strip before the lottery system had gotten so out of hand that it was initiated for everyone’s best interests.

In the 1980s and 1990s, and even up to the early 2000s less than 50 people dominated most of the space. A few people were taking huge amounts of space every day and fighting to keep control of it. People were hired to hold space literally overnight on a regular basis. These bad-old-days were relieved by this lottery system. It is not perfect, but it is an enormous improvement on the past chaos.

There have always been people on Venice Beach expressing political and cultural views, reading poetry, telling fortunes, braiding hair, drawing tattoos, selling jewelry, clothes, toys, decorations and art, plus everything else imaginable on the beach. What the letter writer calls “commercial” vending is what helped to make Venice Beach world famous.

What some call a ‘swap meet’ millions of tourists and locals call the interesting flavor of the beach. If they buy wind chimes and African-themed T-shirts, Jamaican caps, jewelry, bags, bugs, incense and things, or get a henna tattoo, photography or art, it’s because they want to buy them.

In years past I have seen rare instances when all vending has been banned from the Boardwalk and it has produced an eerie ghost town effect. The public was greatly disappointed and wanted the lively mix back and that is why it was allowed back. Looking at a few painters and photographers was not the beach experience they came there to have.

Venice has over several hundred resident professional artists living all over the area, as evidenced by the historic Venice Art Walk held every year. These artists have used the beach over the years but almost none do now because of the depressed art market, not because of any basic flaw of the lottery system.

Artists have also traded and given their selected spaces to each other. How is that different from anyone else doing the same? Friends always help their friends or family fill in unused days or times. That is human nature, not corruption.

Commercial vending, as described by the writer, is always checked when it swings to extremes but it is, within reason, as integral to Venice Beach as music and art and sports and ice cream and all of the many things that make a sunny day at any beach fun. Culture is an organic process, created by the people who are out there participating and interacting with people. That is why Venice Beach is what it is and why no one group of people or one activity should have a monopoly on it.

I, and most other vendors on Venice Beach, think that we are lucky to have such an outlet for our work, whenever we get use of it.

Courtney Evans, Artist/Jewelry Maker, Los Angeles