Kevin Cody

Letters January 21, 2010

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A squirrely community
Dear ER:
Since the article about the squirrel wars was published (“Neighbors embroiled in squirrel quarrel,” ER Jan. 7, 2010), we have received numerous calls, emails, and hand written notes from friends, family, neighbors and people from the community we didn’t even know. People have been leaving bags of peanuts at our doorstep. One rather large bag had the following note attached, “A gift from the Irena Street Squirrels to the Spencer Street Gang. Hang in there! Bon Appetit.”
One woman called and asked if I could send an angry pack of squirrels over to destroy her ex-husbands house. Another lady suggested I change my last name from Horrell to Sqorrell. Normally I would have found that funny, except the suggestion came from my Mother.
Two women apparently concerned about potential indecent exposure by the squirrels were kind enough to provide squirrel underpants. That’s right, little Tighty Whiteys for squirrels. I have attached a photo in case you don’t believe it. They explained, “The poor little things don’t even know that they are naked!” These women feel my neighbors might be more accepting of the squirrels if they were wearing underwear. Your article caught the eye of a prominent attorney. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the attorney has offered his services free of charge. It’s good to know we have a hometown newspaper featuring articles that generate so many random acts of kindness and support. Thanks again to the community and to the Easy Reader.
Jay Horrell
Redondo Beach

State of the schools
Dear ER:
I am a parent of three students in public schools in the South Bay, one at Hermosa Valley and two at Mira Costa High School. My daughters have been fortunate to attend these schools, each the beneficiary of incredible community support. Local fundraising efforts consistently aim to fill the gap between the funds provided by the state budget and the cost of maintaining schools of which we are all justifiably proud.
In elementary school, parents are involved in the daily activities of the schools and their financial support follows that commitment. By high school parental involvement changes, but financial support remains crucial. The Manhattan Beach Education Foundation granted over $1 million to Mira Costa High School for the 2009-10 school year, an amount greater than the total donations received from parents of students at that school. MBEF grants to MCHS support important programs such as the College and Career Center, educational advisors as well as funding for classroom teachers.
This last year has been hard on just about everyone, but it is still important to step up and contribute, especially in light of declining support from the State. Give what you can: continue to support your elementary and middle schools through the HBEF and parent teacher organizations, but also step up and support Mira Costa High School through your contribution to the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation.
Jennifer Rosenfeld
Hermosa Beach,

Home is where the heart is
Dear ER:
I do not live in Manhattan Beach anymore, but grew up all over the South Bay area and now reside in Illinois. Everytime I come here, I am amazed at all the history of these neighborhoods that has been lost. And now Sand Dune park. We have so many memories from childhoods sliding down, and crossing through the paths to get to the ocean. It was a pretty site on the way to another beautiful destination, our beaches. I have lived at the bottom of Sand Dune park and above it as well. I am opposed to the loss of this beautiful park, which also harbors many beautiful parrots who have made their homes there as well. What will happen to them? Please leave the park. I hope the next time I come to Los Angeles, I will still get to visit “Sand Dune Park,” and I am sure there are others who grew up here who want it to still be here when they come as well!
Toni Gray
EasyReaderNews web comment

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You can never go home again
Dear ER:
In the early ‘80s, I lived right up the street from Sand Dune Park. It was a wonderful, quiet neighborhood. I have been amazed at the insanity that has managed to take hold of Sand Dune Park over the recent years. While I enjoyed climbing the dune to get my legs in shape for ski season, I would rather see the dune closed permanently. I can find other ways to get in shape. It is not right to subject the tax-paying residents of that area to the constant barrage of noise, traffic, and headaches caused by the crowds now descending on the park. No one I know would want that mess in their backyard.
Options to control parking or attendance will only cost the city money, will likely be impossible to enforce, and will not improve the quality of life for the local residents. There are many other options for people who want exercise, and there are many other options for people who want to go to a park. While we are fortunate to live in Manhattan Beach, it is not our duty or obligation to provide workout facilities to the general population of Los Angeles. Just leave it closed.
Terry Watson
Manhattan Beach, CA

Thinkin’ in the rain
Dear ER:
Started my walk in the rain but now the sun is shining, the world is a glisten, the wind is stirring up earth aromas so absent most of the time. Part of my walk took me to the base of the Dune. Just stood at its base for a while and looked at, looked hard at it. Thought back to what it used to look like.
My friends, the Dune is broken. Rather than gracefully curved from top to bottom, from one side to the other, it is now broken into a variety of disjointed planes. The top precipice looks over an area that is seriously tilted (looking from the top) down to right, looking much like so many old folks whose spines have betrayed them. The Dune itself looks something like someone watching TV seriously slumped down in his La-Z-Boy. The bottom of the dune, were its plane extended, would fill most of the semi-circular enclosure which, years ago, did not exist. Where the sign at the base of the Dune is now situated used to be where the volleyball court stood when the park was dedicated.
The Dune has a very bad case of scoliosis and is caving in on itself. It is broken and were you to re-open it in anything remotely close to its present condition you would guarantee its destruction, perhaps beyond redemption. It once was a beautiful young thing. It has now been beaten into ugliness.
My arguments of late about closing the Dune had to do with the effect its unconscionable use has had on the neighborhood. I now sense a sadness about the Dune itself and the face it presents to its viewers. It users don’t much care what it looks like. We should. That’s why some folks think that certain large areas of the desert and mountains should be declared wilderness areas and not filled with roads and motorcycle runs and ski machines. Just let it alone for its own sake.
And yet I am willing to see a reconstructed Dune used by children as a play and romp area. But adults can take their pleasures elsewhere.
David Wachtfogel
Manhattan Beach

Sand Dune opportunity costs
Dear ER:
I am amazed by Bill Hory’s unethical suggestion that Manhattan Beach Mayor Mitch Ward should make decisions for the City based on his supposed personal aspirations to represent a more broad constituency (“Save Sand Dune Park,” Letters, ER Jan. 21, 2010. Mayor Ward is man of integrity who would never do so. But more broadly, Hory’s comment reinforces my conclusion that those few who advocate that this City spend huge dollars during this recession — the worst since the Great depression — to create each month a man-made river of sand so that non-residents may have their “preferred free workout,” are not grappling with priorities, any of the opposing points, or even reality. They just want what they want. How many teachers could Manhattan Beach hire if the City just left the dune alone, without the monthly cost of sand relocation, park workers, and police presence necessary to create this dune-workout-facility for these duners in a neighborhood wholly unequipped for this use? A little knowledge, context and perspective go a long way. Hory’s letter lacks each.
Mark Kemple
EasyReaderNews web comment

Sand Dune funds not fungible
Dear ER:
First off, Mark Kemple must be unaware of the very large amount of money provided to Manhattan Beach Park & Recreation by Los Angeles County in a grant “to maintain and operate in perpetuity property developed, rehabilitated or restored”. A significant portion of that grant was used on the dune at Sand Dune Park. South Bay residents are clearly part of Los Angeles County and therefore those residents have a legitimate financial interest in that park. Actions taken by Mayor Ward most certainly reflect his commitment to an obligation to them. A suggestion by letter writer Bill. Hory for South Bay residents to hold Mayor Ward accountable is totally ethical and appropriate, even if Mayor Ward had no further political aspirations.
Second, the money spent at Sand Dune Park has never been shown to be disproportionate compared to that spent at the other major Manhattan Beach parks. Even so, the answer to the question “How many teachers could Manhattan Beach hire” if any monies were saved by dune closure is exactly zero. The Manhattan Beach School District is an entirely separate and distinct entity from the Manhattan Beach City government. Any savings from park operations would not belong to the school district.
Third, the park workers are there whether the dune is open or not and the police get paid whether they are on a call or not. So the extra cost for that is zero. As far as the sand replenishment cost, how does that compare to the analogous event of mowing at Polliwog Park. How does it compare to the millions of kilowatt-hours of electricity used to provide park night lighting? The reasonableness of the maintenance costs at Sand Dune Park can’t be determined without such context.
Finally, I find it ironic that residents who chose to live in the Sand Dune Park neighborhood, that is just a few hundred yards from the noisy and toxic spewing El Segundo oil refinery, would complain about the noise and smog from some sand replenishment trucks six or seven times a year.
Don Trucker
EasyReaderNews web comment

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