By Helga Gendell

AMPHIBIOUS CAR manufactured in Germany. An owner’s “club” in Marina del Rey enjoyed “motoring” in the waters of the Marina, 1990. (Photo by Greg Wenger)

AMPHIBIOUS CAR manufactured in Germany. An owner’s “club” in
Marina del Rey enjoyed “motoring” in the waters of the Marina,
1990. (Photo by Greg Wenger)

Part XVII of the Marina del Rey history series addresses the continuing battle for Marina del Rey cityhood by local residents and boat owners at the time.

The drive for cityhood began in October 1984 and was sourced in the Marina del Rey history Part XV.

Part XVI reviewed the delay of a rent decontrol plan by Marina boaters and the purchase of Marina sites by then state Sen. Alan Robbins and two partners, Selden and Doug Ring.

A Feb. 3, 1985 Los Angeles Times Westside Zones Desk section article titled, “Marina Cityhood Takes First Steps,” stated that “Marina del Rey is on its way to becoming an incorporated city. First steps were taken by the Marina Cityhood Association in October 1984, when it filed for municipal incorporation with the secretary of state.”

“‘The people of Marina del Rey,’ said association President Hy Tucker, ‘want a choice in the decisions that affect their economic and political security.’ Leading the list of issues that concern them is the exorbitant rents now being charged to many boat and apartment dwellers,” stated the Times article.

“An informational letter from the Marina Cityhood Association to all Marina residents is now being prepared.

“‘We hope everyone will take the time to read this letter,’ said association Vice President LaVaun Vawter, ‘for only through widespread renter cooperation can the cityhood drive succeed. Our first letter, which addresses itself to rental living costs, apartment maintenance and special fees, is of vital importance to everyone in the Marina.’”

The Times article continued, “Discussions are now under way between the Marina Cityhood Association and attorney Alan Rader, who successfully piloted the West Hollywood cityhood drive.

“‘We feel that Mr. Rader knows what he is doing; he has already done it for West Hollywood and we want to follow essentially the same course of action,’ said Marshall Peters, legal and financial chairman of the association. ‘The tax base of this growing community, with its hotels, restaurants and thriving businesses is more than adequate to provide essential services to a city.’”

“Not everyone agrees with Peters’ assessment, however, and prominent among the probable opposition are two members of LAFCO (the Local Agency Formation Commission), the commission appointed by the county Board of Supervisors to report on the advisability of cityhood. Three of the commission members are Supervisors Mike Antonovich, Deane Dana and Pete Schabarum,” states the Times article.

“Antonovich, Dana and Schabarum are probable opponents of cityhood on the grounds that Marina del Rey will not generate an adequate tax base. Staff consultant to the commission is Ruth Benell. A feasibility study is being conducted under the direction of Miss Benell.

“‘We were originally promised by Miss Benell that the study would be completed in December,’ said Tucker, ‘but when we requested the report in December we were told that LAFCO was waiting for technical and advisory reports by state agencies in Sacramento.’”

The Times article continues, “Based on the report, LAFCO will advise the Board of Supervisors whether the Marina is financially and economically ready to be incorporated as a city.

“‘The action we will take toward cityhood will be determined by the outcome of the feasibility study,’ Tucker continued, ‘The overwhelming majority of Marina residents favor this move but we need their support right now. They’ll find out all about our position and the action we’ve already taken in the letter they’ll receive.’”