Judy Rae

Letters to the Editor 5-17-18

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Surfing desecration

Dear ER:

The World Surf League recently held the first ever surf contest, more than 100 miles from the nearest ocean (“Live from the WFL’s Founders Cup,” ERNews.com, May 6, 2018) I’m not cheering. Far from it.

So this is what the sport of my youth has come to? Perfect conditions, perfect wave shape, perfect water temp. Yet, total artificiality, total banality, total predictability, total boredom, totally unexciting. Every move perfectly choreographed, scripted, planned in advance – probably written out the night before like a restaurant menu, a roster of food to be cooked by a group of competing chefs. No bothersome Great Whites or Tiger Sharks to worry about, no jellyfish stings to put calamine lotion on later, no porpoises to share waves with, no pelicans to dive bomb next to you and scare the crap out of you.

No, this is just the latest cultural tragedy to befall us Old Guys who had the great good fortune to know surfing in the ‘40s, ‘50s, and early ‘60s when boards were made of wood and real surfers didn’t wear wetsuits, when the line-up between the Manhattan pier and El Porto on a warm spring morning had maybe 30 surfers, when the surf report was two woodies full of guys and boards stopped in the middle of PCH, one pointed north and one pointed south, exchanging info. We gave our girlfriends St. Christopher medals and they dutifully sat on the beach and watched their bronzed Adonis’ walk the nose and do reverse kick-outs. We had it so good then that we wouldn’t know how good we had it till the advent of short board thrashers, leashes, and hollow boards made in China and sold at Costco.

I surfed when surfing was great fun. I enjoyed the sport when most didn’t consider it a sport but a lifestyle, and a bad one at that – a rebellion. But I – we – knew that wasn’t so. It wasn’t a rebellion. It was just the freest, most exciting thing we could do. I surely never thought about it then, but if I had, I never would have believed that technology could ever take that – a boy, a board, and a wave — and dump it in a contest in the middle of cow country.

Tempus Fugit. Time Flees. It marches on and the farther it goes the farther behind I fall, not so much unable as unwilling to keep up. I come from a far better place than the place time wants to take me.

Steve Switzer

Los Angeles

South Bay dissed

Dear ER:

The proposed desalination plant is to be sited in the South Bay because the West Basin Municipal Water District’s outside consultants think we are the armpit of Los Angeles, so a little more environmental damage won’t hurt us. At the recent public meeting they argued that the massive oil refinery, two power plants and a sewage treatment plant make the South Bay the only logical spot to add another industrial plant that will pollute our air and foul our ocean.  

We might opt to be noble and eat the increased air, ocean and noise pollution if desal were necessary, but it appears to be a $360 million to $600 million boondoggle instead of a sensible solution for providing water for West Basin ratepayers.  Over $60 million has already been spent studying the possibility of a plant. This sunken cost needs to be ignored to fairly decide whether a desal plant is useful or necessary.

As the Los Angeles Waterkeeper web site says, “Seawater desalination is the most expensive and energy-intensive option for LA’s water.” It causes the most environmental degradation of all options. It creates more global warming while other much cheaper options reduce it.  It may be necessary someday. It is manifestly unnecessary today.

We need to listen to the scientists at Heal the Bay, L.A. Waterkeeper and Surfrider Foundation and reject desal in favor of cheaper, more environmentally friendly alternatives, of which there are many. Comments may be filed on the draft Environmental Impact Report at westbasindesal.org until June 25.  Please learn all you can and join the fight to preserve our coast.

Michelle Murphy

Manhattan Beach

Park bark thank you

Dear ER:

Hermosa Beach Friends of the Parks’ mission is to preserve, improve and promote the use of Hermosa Beach parks and recreation programs. As event chair for the 3rd Annual Pets in the Park, I would like to thank our sponsors, our local shops and businesses, rescue groups, distinguished judges, clergy and special guests, the city of Hermosa Beach, Public Works, CERT, LAFD, HBPD, the Parks and Recreation staff and Community Services for making this past Saturday in Valley Park such an amazing morning. Pets in the Park takes months of preparation and relies on the hard work of many volunteers to make the magic happen. A special thank you to the Pets in the Park Committee Chairs Tony Berlant, Janice Yates, Joey Farrales, Karen Klink, Dorothy Hartley, Jody Leventhal, Laura Leventhal, Francesca Brooks, Betty Starr and Jan Brittain who helped us deliver on the FOP mission once again.

Thank you to our wonderful Hermosa community and their pets for joining us last Saturday. The smiles and good vibes were such a joy to share!

Remember, a responsible pet parent equals a happy and healthy pet. See you at the parks.

Maureen Ferguson Lewis

Hermosa Beach

Neighborhood drill

Dear ER:

I still have pictures from childhood of my parents and me on the beach with oil rigs drilling away around us (“Redondo neighbors put off by oil well work,” ER May 12, 2018). It was back in the days when smoking cigarettes was cool and kids hopped in the back of a truck for a ride, and seat belts inside a car were considered bothersome (who wants wrinkled clothes?). We’ve learned to care more about our health and safety after watching the effects on us and our parents. While the Redondo situation may have been perfectly handled, there are sites throughout the South Bay and especially in the harbor area where these drills pop up every couple of months to drill right behind our homes. As letter write Melanie L Cohen suggests, don’t expect the current elected leaders to protect us. The laws for refineries are merely suggestions with no useful penalties for violations.

Caney Arnold

Facebook comment

Watch the money

Dear ER:

At the joint meeting of Manhattan Beach City Council and School Board on school safety the City pledged $1 million toward school safety. The contribution followed the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people. Perimeter fencing at four district campuses ($500,000), purchase of new radios ($200,000), cell phone boosters  ($150,000), security cameras and revising its sign-in procedures for visitors.

School board member Ellen Rosenberg said she wanted more evidence that fencing was the best use of resources. School killers are often students and they will be inside the fence.

The new security initiatives add approximately $1.4 million to the school district budget and with the city’s contribution of $1 million, the district needs just $400,000 to cover the rest. Since the City Council is so generous, they will probably pledge the $400,000.

Mayor Amy Howorth indicated the council was not interested in micro-managing the district. But, maybe micro-managing would be better than giving money “with no strings attached”, because it would provide oversight.

Robert Bush

Manhattan Beach


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