‘Severe warning’ about Peru trip

To the Editor:

Regarding the story, “Family of five to set sail for Peru in 30-foot sailboat” on the back page of The Argonaut’s March 5th issue, this smiling gent needs to be given a severe heads up warning. I hope nothing happens to his beautiful family. He is completely irresponsible.

Let him go try it himself. If he gets past the Mexican pirates and as far as maybe Panama, then he could take some advanced hands-on classes in dealing with severe weather, fixing things while at sea and advanced navigation.

The more I think of this article, the more incensed I get. He definitely could have flown his family round trip to Peru for less than the $10,000 he has already spent on his dream of an adventure. How long does he think it’s going to take (even if he sails 14 hours a day for 4,000 miles) and how much will supplies and repairs cost?

Even experienced sailors fall overboard occasionally. What if his wife with no experience goes over trying to save him? What then for the children? This sounds like child endangerment to me.

Carol Woolley

Santa Monica

Wants YMCA program for Boardwalk’s homeless youth

To the Editor:

I sit at my computer and write for a group of young people. They are the homeless youth who live on the Venice Boardwalk. There are perhaps 100 from the ages of 13 to 22. Even more will show up this summer, victims of the economy and a crumbling family structure. Some will return home, but many face a street life. They need help to have a future.

We have no youth shelter on the Westside of Los Angeles. We could probably raise money to build one, but I doubt we could provide the one to two million dollars needed each year to operate it. So the non-profits in the area offer support programs. They struggle for supplies and funding. Our local YMCA in Westchester does not have a program.

I learned of a YMCA in Seattle that has a program for unaccompanied homeless youths. They have come on weekends for a few hours and close the ‘Y’ to regular members. They provide bus passes, meals, counseling, showers and clothes. Community groups help with the needs.

What I am proposing is our YMCA start such a program. The youths may never enjoy a ‘Y’ camp, but can ride the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus to the ‘Y’ for 50 cents. They would enjoy being indoors since they live outside and they would be safe from predators, even if it is only for a few hours.

Robert Mogck


A developer’s point of view

To the Editor:

I’ve lived most of my life in Playa del Rey. Over the years, I developed many properties in the lagoon area and Venice Peninsula, which gave many people an opportunity to live by the ocean and the Marina.

The speakers at the lagoon townhall, speaking on the subject of the project planned by DS Ventures at the north end of Del Rey Lagoon on February 26th, are apparently not aware of the critical need for housing on the Westside.

One of the speakers was critical of the City Planning Department for changing the open space zoning to permit luxury apartments. The fact is, the city is running out of vacant land, and it is now necessary to rezone for development land previously bypassed by developers due to developmental problems.

Fortunately, the subterranean parking structure requested as a bonus item, under the city 1818 Bonus Ordinance, will be free of water intrusion as it is located over a leakproof layer of blue clay. A similar condition prevails under the canals of Amsterdam, which made it possible for that city to recently approve the concept of a three-story shopping center under the canals.

All utilities are located nearby, and Esplanade can be widened to accommodate the increased traffic to and from the parcel.

I commend the planning department and city fathers, for eliminating barriers to development of the site, and insuring it will be developed to the maximum extent possible under the new zoning and Bonus Ordinance, without the need for discretionary variances, which can be opposed by narrow-minded community members.

It is nice to know that housing advocates have supporters in City Hall, including planning director, Gail Goldberg, who is about to retire.

The bonus ordinance, which provides “incentives” for including low-income housing, and includes forgiveness of building fees and park fees (Quimby fees), will insure that the project, as finally constituted, will be of sufficient additional size and bulk, to afford more units than were initially proposed.

One would have to be blind not to notice the large and efficient “bonus buildings,” which make maximum use of the land, popping up all over the Westside, despite na‘ve, ignorant and ineffective community opposition.

The Bonus Ordinance, and the “Q” conditions imposed by the Planning Department, will help meet the need for luxury (and city supervised low income housing) in the lagoon area. The “Q” conditions solve the problem posed by restrictive and unnecessary environmental buffers, like those imposed in the Grand Canal in Venice, which hinder development by precluding paving over such areas and using them for driveways.

The Planning Department removed this impediment to progress by calling them “setbacks.” As “setbacks” they may be improved with 34,560 square feet of concrete alleys, driveways and street improvements.

This expanse of concrete will hopefully cause the noisy geese and other fowl to retreat to the “wetlands” where they belong.

One of the “Q” conditions requires that no sides of the building be visible from the lagoon. This disposes of any issue relating to preserving public views of sailboats, the Santa Monica mountains, and the bay, by requiring that the building stretch from one side of the lagoon to the other.

Public parks are there for recreational amenities, not open space and views. We already have a children’s play area, a picnic area, basketball courts, and a baseball diamond at Del Rey Lagoon Park. Public views should not stand in the way of the need for low-income housing, which the development will also provide.

But for my myopic neighbors who fought the Department of Recreation and Parks Department’s plans in the ’50s and ’60s to fill in the lagoon, we today would have a first class soccer field, instead of a sometimes smelly and muddy lagoon, which costs taxpayers’ money to maintain.

The lack of any “Q” Condition “setback” from the waters of the lagoon on either the west or east sides, fortunately preserves the possibility of filling the lagoon waters from 63rd to 62nd to accommodate future housing needs.

Fortunately, the Planning Department solved the problematic issue of public access by giving the land under Back Bay Place which borders the lagoon, to a previous developer, in exchange for providing two moderate cost housing units in his development.

Hopefully, DS Ventures will also get the assistance of the county, State Fish and Game, the California Coastal Commission, and other public agencies, to insure that the need for additional housing in the lagoon area will be expeditiously met.

Jim Eilertson

Playa del Rey