The arts are ‘uniquely central to the culture of Santa Monica’

To the Editor:

Civilizations are remembered by their culture and the arts are what define us within the human experience. As we face challenges in the world, our nation, state and community, the Santa Monica Arts Commission advocates an even greater need to come together as a community. In these tough economic times, we commit to continuing to provide access to the arts and culture that abound in our city.

Indeed, the arts are uniquely central to the culture of Santa Monica. The citizens of Santa Monica see their city as a center of creativity as evidenced by the emphasis on culture in the city’s recent planning documents (LUCE, Creative Capital, and the Civic Center Specific Plan).

The Arts Commission has long focused on programs that increase access and participation — Jazz on the Lawn, Airport Art Walk, Santa Monica Festival, GLOW and the programming at the Miles Memorial Playhouse to name just a few. Individual organizations have responded with programs like “pay what you can” at various venues throughout Santa Monica.

The arts are not an extra, something beyond what we need day to day. They are a necessity: allowing us to keep our sanity in tough times, feeding our souls with culture and providing a sense of community. The arts renew us and bring us together. In times of need, we must sustain our investment in the cultural life of Santa Monica.

Maya Emsden and other members of the Santa Monica Arts Commission

Thanks Susan Cloke for her work on Design Control Board

To the Editor:

My heart is broken. Marina del Rey is broken.

As a member of the public who lives in and loves Marina del Rey, I, first, want to thank Susan Cloke for her service to the Marina on the Design Control Board (DCB). I have tremendous admiration and appreciation for how she handled each and every meeting I have attended in a professional way and with class and caring for carrying out her mandate on the DCB.

Susan, I and your fellow board members, previous and present, thank you. You tried hard, you certainly meant well, but you were fighting a losing battle.

My heart is broken because Marina del Rey is broken, and it is broken because the Board of Supervisors, the body entrusted with the very life and being of this wonderful Marina, is broken. If Marina del Rey were a child and the Board Of Supervisors were its parents, they would and should have had their child removed from their custody for neglect, abuse, and total lack of setting up the proper mechanisms that would enable the Marina to flourish over the years as a Marina for the people.

Instead, the Board of Supervisors, from the inception of Marina del Rey, has not cared for its charge in a way that would maintain our Marina as a showplace for all citizens of Los Angeles to offer with pride to all who visit here from around the world.

The county’s business model for running Marina del Rey is faulty. Any landlord who cares about their property would tell you that. Among other things, an astute landlord gives incentives to tenants to maintain the property in good condition, not incentives to let it run down until it is no longer useable.

My question to the tenant/developers — especially those who have been here in the Marina since its inception in the ’60s is, “How much is enough?” When do you reach a point in your life that you want to be known for your contributions — in this case, your contribution to Marina del Rey — and not be known simply for the “smart” business person who milked it dry? Dry, figuratively and literally, as you cement it out to and over the water and up to a point where any water left cannot even be seen?

How much is enough in a person’s life? Do you really want to be remembered as the one who contributed to the ugly destruction of Marina del Rey of Los Angeles County, California?

Roslyn E. Walker, Marina del Rey