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From Marina del Rey to Skid Row

It's not just the big banks and corporate fat cats getting pilloried these days; readers found much to protest this week, even if they refrained from camping out in front of City Hall to do it. (Hey, no need to suffer through the rain when you can just sound off at laweekly.com!)

Many had salty words for the California Coastal Commission after reading our scoop about the battle over the future of Marina del Rey ("War Over Major Marina Remake," by Tibby Rothman, Nov. 4). As our story explained, the commission was considering an overhaul of laws and policies governing redevelopment in the beachside neighborhood — and, sure enough, on Nov. 3, commissioners approved the controversial new plans. Opponents say the changes amount to a sweeping privatization of public property, the loss of open space and the reduction of boating slips.

The county counters that the changes simply group appropriate land uses together, but few readers are buying it. Writes one, who goes by "wetlandsact," "The nesting and roosting birds lost their legal protection this past Thursday at the Coastal Commission hearing. The small-boat owners — especially sailors — lost a significant number of boat slips. The visitors to the marina — the public — lost three important parking lots, including one next to a lagoon (Oxford) and one that is the only free parking lot near the water anywhere on the Los Angeles coast. And residents, as well as visitors, lost any semblance of quality of life at what WAS the most important coastal recreation resource in Los Angeles County. How did this happen?

Reader Msginabttl has one answer: "The county gave the developer of Del Rey Shore a rent credit for $11 million and expedited their building permit so the developer could avoid the latest building codes.... The developer also got $125 million from HUD and only had to provide 50 affordable housing units. When they tore down the old building, we lost 225 affordable housing units.

"The 1 percent is stealing again from the 99 percent," she continues. "When the coastal act and our local coastal plan says the county's plans are in violation, you would think that the county would do the right thing and respect and uphold the law. Instead they hire consultants for hundreds of thousands of dollars to change the law."

Chris Taconic is not impressed. "Either way, locals or developers, it sounds like Marina del Rey will remain as it is: an intensely boring place with a view of some rich people's yachts," he writes. "And that seems to be just how everyone around there wants it."

We also heard from a few readers who were horrified by the latest news on the city's plan to subsidize the Gensler architecture firm's move downtown — even as Skid Row denizens suggest much different uses for the money ("Skid Row vs. Gensler Global," by Martin Berg, Nov. 4). A reader who goes by "Making L.A. Great" feels the situation is all too endemic to Los Angeles politics: "Should anyone be surprised by this action? The cushy relationship and revolving door between developers/property owners and City Hall politicians serves both groups well, usually at the expense of the city's residents. In this case it is the city's poorest residents, those most vulnerable, who are getting the shaft. Villaraigosa and Perry will say they care, but like many of their aides, they are simply looking for the next step up the political ladder."

A Kosher Pickle in Pico-Robertson

If you think people get worked up about politics, well, you haven't been to a good dinner party lately. These days, everyone's full of advice on where to eat and what to order. Which is why we shouldn't be surprised that our piece about the growing restaurant scene in the Pico-Robertson corridor triggered strong reactions ("The Kosher Corridor," by Elina Shatkin, Nov. 4). Naturally, most of them focused on the amazing places we left out.

Writes Louis Linden, "What about Got Kosher? Best challah and great North African food!" Adds Michoel, "You left out Pico Kosher Deli. Bar none the best kosher deli in the world."

And a few readers weren't happy about our inclusion of Komodo, a food truck-turned-restaurant in the heart of the Kosher Corridor. While Shatkin clearly noted that Komodo doesn't keep kosher, readers thought she went too far just by mentioning it. "Thanks for writing about the corridor, but with the many other excellent kosher places (Pico Kosher Deli, Schnitzly, Got Kosher, Burger Barn), why include a clearly non-kosher place?" asks a reader who self-identifies only as "guest." "You do mention in your review that it isn't kosher, but someone skimming the list and info would assume it is kosher. Komodo is great, but it doesn't belong in this article (at least not as a place on the list)."

Adds another self-described guest, "You list five places in the kosher corridor, and one is not kosher? Weird. It's not like you ran out. Shanghai Diamond Gardens, Pat's, Milk N' Honey, Subway..." (Subway is kosher? Who knew?)

Finally, Ron Hardcastle has an observation about food-naming trends at local restaurants. He writes, "In the space of three pages we read about the opening of the Pie Hole, Fukuburger (brainchild of, among others, Colin Fukunaga) and the Momofuku Milk Bar. What's next? The Fukumomopiehole???" Ron, we must admit, it has a certain ring....

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