The LookOut Letters to the Editor
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Suspicious Initiatives, Keeping the Boathouse Afloat and a Dangerous Crossing

July 15, 2001

Dear Editor:

Regarding the July 11 story on the living wage: As one of the 79 percent of Santa Monicans who voted against Measure KK last November, I am appalled that the special interests behind that initiative are once again trying to divide our community.

The luxury hotels that sponsored Measure KK spent $1 million on a disinformation campaign, hoping to keep their workers from getting a living wage.

Once the voters figured out what was going on, they handed a huge defeat to the hotels. Why? Because Santa Monicans believe that hard-working people should be paid a decent wage.

Now the City Council is about to pass a fair, responsible living wage law. But the hotels just don't want to hear the message of last November. So they're trying to repeal the living wage law, using scare tactics that have no basis in fact.

The special interests are ignoring the will of Santa Monica voters. We should return the favor and ignore their petition to repeal the living wage.

Sincerely,

Howard Colf


July 15, 2001

Dear Editor

"VERITAS," which means in Latin truth, has been feeding our community a whole lot of "mentiras," lies in Spanish.

First I would like to say that we really don't need a Czar in Soviet Monica. VERITAS is suggesting a Mayor uber alles that will veto every thing that your council will decide. For example if the council decides to give our schools money HE can veto it.

If the council decides to build the Civic Center and create a park place and housing, HE can veto it. You need six votes to make anything work in our city so HE cannot veto it. Give me a break.

I like the idea that ALL council members have to answer to our community and not to ONE CZAR disguised as a mayor. Don't support VERITAS and don't give them the time of day by signing their petitions.

Bruria Finkel
Santa Monica


July 10, 2001

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to your article regarding my attempts to have the City Council revisit the issue of the Boathouse lease.

Several City Council members were of the opinion that there had been enough, if not extra, public input into the matter of the Boathouse space, much of it at previous Council meetings.
While there has been some opportunity for the citizens of Santa Monica to express their wishes, unfortunately no one has been listening.

At the August 8, 2000 meeting of the City Council the one thing everyone seemed to be able to agree on was that they emphatically did not want a chain restaurant. Some citizens wanted the Boathouse, others wanted something else, but no one wanted a chain. And here sits the City in negotiations with the Bubba Gump Shrimp -- a chain that is so closely tied to their theme that they feature Alabama license plates on their tables in all of their restaurants. Is that what we want to see on our historic Santa Monica Pier?

When the Pier Restoration Corporation decided to look for new tenants for the Boathouse they sent out a Request for Qualifications. This is very different from a Request for Proposals, a distinction that seems beyond several of our Council members. They have continually confused the two, thereby confusing the public about what the Boathouse and others were actually asked to provide.

Much has been made that I wanted to enter into a partnership with a motorcycle-themed restaurant company run in partnership with a Canadian restaurant company. This is not true. My intent, expressed in my RFQ response, was to bring in Universal Restaurant Corporation as consultants.

URC specializes in the renovation of old restaurants while retaining their history and unique characteristics. Indian Motorcycle of California was interested in doing a tastefully decorated entrance featuring photos and memorabilia tying into the Pier as the end of Route 66 and the American love of the open road. Their interest grew out of the fact that they had previously been approached by the Pier Restoration Corporation to be a Pier sponsor.

The Boathouse has received over 8,000 testimonials, not 1,000. Which of these letters Mr. Bloom referred to, I cannot say, as we have forwarded everyone of the 8,000 and have no idea who selected the few they had on hand that night. I cannot defend how some people choose to express themselves, what I can defend is their First Amendment right and to that end all letters received by us were forwarded to the Council.

I would like to make a public "Thank You" to Mayor Feinstein, who had the courage to express publicly what so many have expressed privately.

While I am disappointed with the City Council's lack of action, I have by no means given up and look forward to many more years of serving the citizens of Santa Monica.

Sincerely,

Naia Sheffield
The Boathouse


July 11, 2001

Dear Editor,

Below is an e-mail letter I sent to Chief James T. Butts, Jr. on Tuesday July 10 regarding the installation of a very dangerous Pedestrian crosswalk on Ocean Avenue. Thank you.

Dear Chief Butts:

I am writing to you to voice my concern about the installation of a new pedestrian crosswalk on Ocean Avenue. The location of this crossing is, to my understanding, between Loews and Le Merigot hotels.

While I fully endorse and welcome such a crosswalk, I am very much concerned for the safety of the public.

As you may know, the Ocean Avenue corridor between Colorado and Pico is a race track at any time of the day. I personally witness numerous speeding violations daily.

My fear and concern is that if other traffic calming devices are not installed at the same time as the crosswalk to protect the pedestrians, many accidents, I fear, are inevitable.

Both Loews, Le Merigot and our City in general cater to European visitors, who come from countries where pedestrians have absolute "right of way." These tourists and others might be given a false sense of security if they activate strobe lights and proceed to cross the street.

I don't want to be an alarmist, but after just having a young lady being hit and killed there last Friday evening, on the very spot where the crosswalk will be, it makes my appeal to you even stronger.

In anticipation that you will review the safety aspect of my request.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Sig Ortloff
General Manager
Le Merigot Beach Hotel and Spa

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