Says Marina development projects will earn county ‘meager’ revenue

To the Editor:

James A. Fawcett, former chief of planning of the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, revealed in a recent interview (The Argonaut, Oct. 7) that the county’s Asset Management Strategy for Marina del Rey development turned into a handover of public lands to private developers.

Considerations of recreational facilities and public access parking for which the Marina was conceived were largely swept aside.

Yet the county has gone to extraordinary lengths to push this strategy, which is to a large extent against the public interest.

It has spent big amounts of taxpayers’ money on hiring consultants to advance its plans. One consultant has reportedly been paid well over $100,000 a year largely to deal with Marina development.

A second, Susan McCabe of McCabe and Associates, is reportedly under a $10-12,000 a month retainer from the county to lobby the California Coastal Commission.

Add to this the huge amounts of time spent by a phalanx of county lawyers and Beaches and Harbors staff on pushing these projects, which include the giveaway of key parking lots on the western or ocean side of the Marina, the construction of a 19-floor hotel smack in the middle of the Marina, and the loss of 800- plus small slips devoted to recreational yachting and boating.

The most dispiriting aspect of the county’s planning is the relatively meager revenue it will earn from this handover of public assets. Developers will make out handsomely. But Beaches and Harbors Director Santos Kreimann revealed in a recent Fox 11 News interview that the developments would add only $4-to-5 million a year to county revenue.

Four to five million dollars wouldn’t buy you much in terms of Malibu real estate.

Why is the county giving away 30 acres of prime, waterside public land for a song?

Bruce Russell, Marina del Rey