By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
PLAYA VISTA'S CROCODILE TEARS
DEAR EDITOR:Re: "Brinkmanship at Ballona Creek" [July 10-16]. Ever since the federal court handed down the order for Playa Capital to cease and desist in the destruction of the Ballona Wetlands, Playa Vista's would-be developers have been tying themselves in knots trying to explain how their wetlands "restoration effort" could be illegal - after years of peddling the glories of Playa Vista's promised freshwater marsh, riparian corridor and sundry other environmentally nice-sounding things.
The developers are omitting to note the opinion of biologists that Playa Vista's "freshwater marsh" would require the demise of existing, restorable coastal salt marsh, and that it is, in fact, nothing more than a catch basin for flood control and the cleansing of street runoff from the proposed development. The "riparian corridor" is a drainage ditch that would run from the planned urban-residential area into the catch basin. The court has now confirmed that the "freshwater marsh" plan is deeply flawed as restoration, and the impacts of its high pollutant load are fundamentally unknown and insufficiently studied to permit its construction.
The developer contends that there is no contradiction between the soothing words they have been saying all these years and the desolate sight now on view east and west of the intersection of Lincoln and Jefferson boulevards, because, in the words of company president Peter B. Denniston, "restoration is often done with bulldozers . . . channels must be reconstructed . . . underground pipes must be installed," etc. In fact, both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency have agreed that the construction of artificial habitat within the proposed Playa Vista retention basin is insupportable as a mitigation measure for Playa Vista's inevitable destruction of wetlands and loss of natural habitat.
Yes, Playa Vista's opponents - even the poorly dressed ones, the ones with long hair, the ones who have chained their necks to bulldozers in an attempt to stave off the criminal destruction of an irreplaceable resource for one more day (or a few more hours), the ones who were sneered at and dismissed as wild-eyed troublemakers with questionable motives - have been telling you the truth about Playa Vista for the last four years. And yes, the developers - well-dressed, well-spoken, firm of handshake, clear of eye - have been less than forthright.
And yes, Los Angeles, you have been had.-Andrew ChristieSierra Club Ballona Task ForceSanta Monica
SAME OLD BALLONA
DEAR EDITOR:Re: J. William Gibson's "Split Decision" [July 17-23]. Congratulations to the Wetland Action Network, and to CalPIRG and the Ballona Land Trust: They've finally managed to screw things up. In their zeal to stop the Playa Vista development entirely, all they've managed to do is halt the first phase of wetland restoration while giving Playa Vista's residential and commercial development the green light. Nice going, guys.
The freshwater marsh being constructed (with stringent environmental safeguards) as part of the Friends of Ballona Wetlands' legal settlement agreement with Playa Vista could have been the first step toward desperately needed restoration of the entire wetland - at a cost to the developer of over $13 million. The marsh would have replaced abandoned agricultural fields in an area only partially designated as wetland. Before the Friends rescued it, it was slated to be filled with 10-to-12-story buildings. We knew that, once returned to wetland, it would be forever protected from future development by law. Now, thanks to these ill-informed zealots, restoration must wait while Playa Vista gets built.
To paraphrase old Pyrrhus: One more such victory and the Ballona Wetlands are lost . . . forever.-Ruth LansfordPresident, Friends of Ballona WetlandsPlaya del Rey
NO REPRESENTATION WITHOUT TAXATION!
DEAR EDITOR:Re Mary Moore's article "Higher Calling" [July 10-16], which challenges not only health care based on religious bias, but the whole concept of representation of Catholic interests without taxation, it is important to note that abortion is not the only reproductive issue. There is also contraception, sterilization (both postpartum and in the interval between pregnancies) and all manner of assisted reproductive technologies. The bottom line is that all taxpayers are subsidizing all religions that are tax-exempt. This is a choice we may elect to have, but if we truly are to have separation of church and state, I would submit that the churches of this nation, especially as long as they benefit from tax-exempt status, should be banned from any lobbying efforts that attempt to influence our laws - such as the efforts subsidized by millions of tax-exempted Catholic a Church dollars that go into sponsoring measures to oppose legally sanctioned abortions.-Sylvain Fribourg, M.D.Panorama City
SWEET & SOUR GRAPES
DEAR EDITOR:Re: Steven Leigh Morris' "Noises Off" [July 17-23]. When I heard about the consumption of Drama-Logue's carcass by Back Stage West, I must confess to high-fiving my cat. For years, this propped-up cadaver caused me nothing but sciatica. Time and again, actors, directors and technicians would be compensated for their noncompensation by "winning" the all-important Drama-Logue awards. Who needs shekels when you can have your own personal Hollywood Tony? For my money - or lack of it - Rob Kendt, editor of Back Stage West, has brought some progressiveness to trade-ragdom. His days at the Downtown News, entrenched in the historic Al's National Theater movement, bring a welcome relief from Drama-Logue's casting-director journalism and borscht-belt politique.