Gracie Zheng's story about the Annenberg Foundation's plan to build a interpretive center/pet adoption facility in the publicly owned Ballona Wetlands stirred outrage last week ("Save Ballona or Pave Ballona," July 5).
Writes Naturalareafan, "The Annenberg Foundation claims to work for the public well-being, but its public-land-grab-for-pet-hospital project shows it taking advantage of any and all opportunities for its own financial benefit. ... If its plan goes through, instead of having to pay market rates for land, it will get public land on the Westside for a song, saving foundation/family dollars. ... Simply put, Annenberg's project is 'the gift that keeps on taking.' "
Writes John Davis, "For Jerry Brown, the law is for sale to the highest bidder. Perhaps the next step is to allow McDonald's to place golden arches over the top of Yosemite Falls, if Brown feels the bribe is right."
Then we heard from David W. Kay, president of the Friends of the Ballona Wetlands, whose letter actually calls some local environmentalists "eco-jihadists."
Kay writes, "Riddled with factual errors, L.A. Weekly's Ballona piece dovetails nicely with its ads for strip clubs and marijuana dispensaries (not that there's anything wrong with that). As the writer was told by Friends of Ballona Wetlands executive director Lisa Fimiani, we agree the area east of the ball fields is a preferred visitor-center location, and will reserve judgment on specifics until after environmental analysis is complete.
"Canonizing Longcore and Hanscom, the Louie Gohmert and Michelle Bachmann of Westside pseudo-environmentalism, the tabloid perpetuates baseless fabrications of these and other eco-jihadists, none of whom have any education or experience designing, constructing or managing large-scale tidal wetland restoration. Unable to foment public outrage over rescuing abandoned pets, the eco-charlatans now peddle the 'horror' of private development on public land.
"When we the people restore the other 639 Ballona acres from Marina mud dumped decades ago, we'll need one acre shared with the Little League for a visitor center linking well-regulated public access. In L.A., you need to park your car, dump your trash, use a restroom and get directions on where to walk, or you'll just park, dump and walk wherever. The degraded high land isolated by the 90 freeway, Culver Boulevard and the baseball field is ideal for this key project element, whether Annenberg or some other sugar daddy chips in. Anyone who puts $80 million–plus on the table for such a critical component of the largest public open space in L.A. next to Griffith Park can have an acre with a few rooms to rehabilitate abandoned kittens."
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Our Ballona story did make one error: It misidentified the coalition that saved much of the wetlands. It was Citizens United to Save All of Ballona, not Wetlands Action Network. We regret the error.
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