The LookOut Letters to the Editor
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Taxation not Education, Pier into the Past and Beach Bums II

February 22, 2002

Dear Editor:

Once again, Frank Gruber (WHAT I SAY, "Could the Judge Order Trial by Combat?" Feb. 22) misses the point. Proposition U is not about education, its about taxation.

Santa Monica College has proposed a $160-million dollar bond issue to be financed by Santa Monica and Malibu property owners (and renters through a Santa Monica Rent Control Board approved pass along) when only 15 percent of SMC's students live in Santa Monica or Malibu.

Santa Monica voters are being asked to subsidize the education of SMC students who live in Hollywood, the Valley, West LA, Beverly Hills and even from out of state and out of the country.

Santa Monica and Malibu residents are already subsidizing Santa Monica College students because Santa Monica College is a state-supported institution and some of the taxes we all pay to the state of California already come back to the College. The college should be petitioning the state for its fair share of funding -- something it says it has been shorted on over the last few years -- and not ask us to shoulder 100 percent of the burden.

It is patently unfair for the college to place the bond liability -- which will amount to $25 per $100,000 assessed evaluation or about $125 a year for a half million dollar home for the next 40 years -- on only Santa Monicans and Malibuites.

Bill Bauer
Santa Monica

February 22, 2002

Dear Editor:

Frank Gruber misses the point in his editorial on Prop U.

Just as our local airport was not designed to be a commercial jetport, our community college was intended to serve the higher education needs of local residents. While the jet traffic increasingly affecting our residents does not all live in Santa Monica, as residents we have a strong say in how our airport accommodates it.

Prop. U is a quantity of education issue, not a quality one. SMC has decided to grow to accommodate the masses coming from other locales, and is now asking our residents to finance their expansion.

While the future of our nation's social security will hardly be affected by SMC's continuing growth (and there must be fewer benefits in this tax bill than I even imagined, given this stretch), the quality of life for Santa Monica residents will be negatively impacted on a daily basis. And that, more than anything, is why so many of us are voting "No" on Prop. U.

Don Gray
Santa Monica

February 21, 2002

Dear Editor:

It is interesting to note that not a single member of the current Board of Directors of the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation was on the Board at the time of the negotiation or signing of the lease with Russell Bernard, which is the focus of your two articles. (SINBAD'S REVENGE: "Club Route 66 Reaches the End of the Road," Feb. 19, and "Lost in a Maze," Feb 20.)

In fact, the lease predates by several years the current Executive Director and even the member of the Board of Directors with the longest current tenure.

One thing I think we all share is a hope that this property can now be put to use for the benefit of the City and all of its citizens -- something that has not happened for many years.

Although history may be able to teach us some lessons, it is indisputably the past.

The thing we can all do something about now is the future, and it would be my hope we can get on to that issue promptly. I suspect that even people with differing views on other issues in this situation can agree on that, and I hope it will quickly become everyone's focus.

Let's all make something good happen - now!

Very truly yours,

Michael S. Klein
Chairperson, Board of Directors, SMPRC

February 18, 2002

Dear Editor:

I would like to second Jeffrey Weinstein's comments concerning the degradation of the beach area in Santa Monica (LETTERS: "Beach Bum Hangout and Echoing Outrage," Feb. 18, 2002).

I run down that stretch of beach most mornings and am always amazed at what I find. Sometimes I wonder how the people that live next to the beach put up with it.

Just yesterday I found human feces in the sand near some of the palm trees when a toilet was just 40 feet away. And I always find people sleeping in the children's play area on the south side of the pier. It's a rare occasion not to find someone down there.

Many people like myself use that area to work out and usually have to find a spot in the area that's somewhat clean in order to do so. The smell of urine at times surrounds the palm trees and beer bottles and trash are always close by. When the 'campers' get up, they always light up for their first smoke or hit of the day.

Last year in the children's area, a woman flashed a kitchen knife at me while I was exercising. I looked around for the police, but of course I've never seen them down there. (Oh, there was one time when two officers swept the area south of the pier and moved the 'campers' out. But that was about 2 years ago and the one and only time You would think there would be a police presence in that area since it was there a few years ago that a German tourist lost his life.)

Fortunately, I was able to find a maintenance worker who called the police. It only took the first car ten minutes to arrive after the call. But when they did arrive, they arrived in mass. I think 10 cars showed up. Luckily, the woman wasn't too much of a threat. She just needed to be relieved of the knife before children showed up to play in that area.

I could go on and on with my morning stories. Sometimes I wonder if the patrons of Casa Del Mar, Shutters, Loews, etc., will ever stay there again after seeing the 'campers' in action. Hopefully, they are advised not to go on the boardwalk? I can only second Jeffrey's statement that something needs to be done. It's getting worse down there and with people congregating at the bathrooms just north of Shutters, it won't be long before something bad happens.

In the last two months I've noticed the group that Jeffrey mentions growing larger and larger. The area between Venice and the pier, which the city spent a small fortune on improving, is quickly deteriorating and becoming a place that few can enjoy. The city needs to increase the police presence down there or someone will get hurt again. If nothing happens soon, it will be a clear sign that change needs to occur in our city's governance!


Dan Kolhoff
Santa Monica

February 8, 2002

Dear Editor,

(Re: "Promenade Bathrooms Better Than Disneyland's, Former President Declares," Feb. 8, 2002)

"Clinton: 'That pine deodorizer reminds me of D.C."'...AND WHAT A TOILET WASHINGTON IS! As a title of your article, I like: "Clinton Pees on Promenade."

Peter Tigler
Santa Monica

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