Praises Abby Sunderland, says criticism of parents ‘unfounded’

To the Editor:

RE: “Abby Sunderland recounts dismasting in Indian Ocean” (Argonaut, July 1). This is the most accurate and fairest article reporting on Sunderland’s sailing adventure. The criticism of her parents is totally unfounded, by people who don’t even know them.

As a parent, I might not have allowed my daughters, when they were 16 or even older (they’re now 43 and 40) to embark on such a high risk adventure, but then again I don’t have Abby for a daughter.

But believe me; I would be very proud to have Abby for my third daughter. She is awesome and her skills are way beyond her years.

We are thankful Abby is home safe. We are thankful for her new brother Paul. We are thankful she has such nurturing parents that prepared her in every way to go after her big dream. When she feels ready, I hope she will give sailing around the world another shot. Go Abby.

Dave Mason, Madison, CT

Defends efforts of Friends of Ballona in wetland restoration

To the Editor:

The Friends of Ballona Wetlands is an organization that fought long and hard for protection of the Ballona Wetlands.

Developers are not angels. Critics of the Friends have benefited from living in apartments built by developers who did not do anything for habitat restoration.

In contrast, a pair of least Bell’s vireos, an endangered bird (a story that was reported in The Argonaut), is nesting in a sycamore planted by Playa Vista.

As a result of the Friends’ efforts, this developer was forced to plant hundreds of willows and other native plants that had been eliminated by construction of Howard Hughes’ private airport — functioning wetland habitat that would not have grown on its own with only time and hand-wringing to help it along.

And the same is true of the Ballona saltmarsh — it needs carefully planned restoration by experts who know what they are doing.

Edith Read, Playa del Rey

Encourages residents to show support for Marina’s ‘recreational potential’

To the Editor:

Kudos to Helga Gendell on her series about Marina del Rey’s history. It is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in this remarkable community that has long been the second largest contributor to the general welfare of the entire county of Los Angeles.

Alas, Ms. Gendell’s compendium obscured, at its inception, the single most important truth about the Marina: not only the water, but also the land surrounding the harbor, was intended for recreation. That omission distorts the perception of everything that has transpired since.

Our federal tax dollars paid for half of the Marina del Rey harbor dredging and construction, based on the promise of recreation on both the land and the water.

In 1954, the U.S. House of Representatives Document 389 (HD 389) established the basis for the creation of Marina del Rey, including its recreational mandate.

HD 389 sets forth the views and recommendations of the federal and state governments, including the understanding among all the parties (federal, state and local jurisdictions) that Los Angeles County would develop the land area for recreational use.

Public Law 780 simply authorized federal funds for the Marina “in accordance with the plans and subject to the conditions of” HD 389.

In 1956, the citizens of L.A. County approved the revenue-bond that funded the local share of costs, which included the other half of the harbor dredging and construction, plus all of the landside infrastructure. It, too, was approved on the basis of the HD 389 plan and Marina del Rey’s recreational promise for current and future generations of county residents.

The county acknowledges that private residential and commercial development was a compromise “to ensure adequate revenues to service the bond debt.”

Our bond was fully repaid in 1993. There is no justification for increasing the amount of private, non-recreational development, which already accounts for 64.8 percent of the Marina’s 401 land acres. Only six percent is devoted to recreation or park facilities.

There has been no federal or county referendum to overturn the recreational mandate for Marina del Rey. There has not been a single public hearing on the comprehensive land use changes that would put private apartments, hotels and shopping centers on another 30 acres of public land designated by law for public parks or parking only.

Our officials are currently writing an amendment to overhaul that law to retroactively permit many of these illicit projects, which have already been negotiated and given preliminary approvals.

The public has allegedly been denied a say in the drafting of this amendment. In fact, the county declared that it would hold public meetings on the “visioning process” for Marina del Rey only after it has procured this amendment.

Residents, boaters and neighbors of Marina del Rey must speak out now to protect what remains of our investment in Marina del Rey’s recreational potential. We ARE Marina del Rey urges all Argonaut readers to contact their county supervisor and demand a community-based master plan that honors the recreational promise and serves all the people of Los Angeles County and the region.

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

Thanks for obituary on former teacher

To the Editor:

I wanted to thank the editor for the attention given to the passing of Roy Hefner. I was one of his students “a million years ago.” I can’t even remember if it was junior high or high school, but I remember him perfectly well.

Roy was a local hero and an “American original.” I heard about his passing last year totally by chance, and again, thank you for your coverage.

R. Landsford Watson, Playa del Rey