Welcome to The Silver Strand News, Marina del Rey, CA

Welcome to The Silver Strand News. We hope to keep all those who live in the Silver Strand in Marina del Rey, California, as well as those who simply appreciate the beauty of this area, up to date on neighborhood news and to encourage communication between those who interested in the area. You can sign up for an email subscription by entering your email address in the box on the upper right. You then will receive an email from  wordpress.com, our web host, asking you to confirm your subscription by clicking on “Confirm Follow.” Without this confirmation your subscription will not be activated.The Silver Strand News is an independent news source and all posts represent the opinion of the author.

Please click on the Heading “Calendar of Upcoming Events” for up-to-date information on items of interest to residents.

Sandra Starr (Author, Publisher and Editor)

All material in this blog, unless otherwise indicated, is © The Silver Strand News.

Posted in History of Marina del Rey, History of the Silver Strand, Marina del Rey/Venice Events, Silver Strand Events, Silver Strand Marina del Rey State and National Representives, Venice Events, Via Marina, Marina del Rey: News on County & City Proposals, Welcome to the Silver Strand News, What Topics would you like to see in The Silver Strand News | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Update on Emergency Preparedness

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Bill Boyd, CERT trained Emergency Responder Speaking to Homeowners

    The SSMHOA Emergency Preparedness Committee, led by Richard Cervantes, assisted by Bill Boyd, Penny Akashi and Nora Nicosia, has made big steps forward on educating residents about what to do in the event of a catastrophe. They have held three educational sessions this year, the last one at the home of Block Captain Jennifer Manoogian on Saturday November 1st, 2014. Homeowners were provided with information on methods to prepare homes and families in case of a major disaster such as an earthquake or tsunami. Bill Boyd and Penny Akashi demonstrated the use of handy emergency kits, flashlights, radios and other devices that can be used. They listed many other items that all residents should keep on hand. They also distributed pamphlets.  Richard provided information on the upcoming Community Emergency Preparedness Mapping project and survey to determine community resources that can be used in the event of a major disaster. Other homeowners suggested the development of a plan for a centralized post emergency meeting zone within the Silver Strand.

There was a discussion about the need to have an Emergency Preparedness vendor make a presentation about available Home Kits which households can purchase. In the meantime, Richard has furnished a list of these vendors:SOS Survival Products, Van Nuys, CA – survival products, kits www.sosproducts.com 1-800-479-79981-800-479-7998

Following the meeting for homeowners, the Committee held a meeting for Block Captains on November 19th hosted by Nora Nicosia, Chair of the Block Captain Committee.  The subject was how to enable Emergency Communications between Block Captains and emergency services  in the event that  phone service (all types), along with internet access  are unavailable (which is likely). SSMHOA has purchased walkie-talkies for Block Captains to use in these circumstances. Those Block Captains present were trained how to use them.  In the event of a catastrophe they will be able to make contact with each other and learn about the special needs, especially medical, of those in their Mall. In addition they will have to relay these needs to local first responders (Medical, Police, Fire, etc.) via a local HAM Radio operator. If you are a HAM Radio operator and a SSMHOA member, please volunteer to be part of our Emergency Preparedness communication network by leaving a comment below.

     A schedule for upcoming Emergency Preparedness  meetings will be posted on the Silver Strand News. For more information you can contact Richard Cervantes by leaving a comment below.

Posted in Emergency Preparedness, Silver Strand Marina Homeowners news | 2 Comments

Halloween 2014 on Roma Court in the Silver Strand, Marina del Rey: A Photo Essay

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The Wicked Witch of the Silver Strand and her mourning dove assistants prepare to take off on their annual Halloween Fly Over

    This was the twenty-second Halloween celebration on Roma Court in the Silver Strand. It began as a small local event in 1992,  when homeowner John Conner transformed his garage on Roma Court into a haunted house at the request of his 8-year-old daughter Samantha. Other homeowners followed his lead. Since then, Halloween on Roma Court has become an annual tradition when homeowners decorate their homes and garages to create a magical wonderland, which now attracts several hundred parents, children, relatives and friends. Thanks to all participants for making this another wonderful Halloween. And a very special note of thanks to our photographers, Marilee Karlsen, Clarissa Cervantes and Dan Avila for contributing their great pictures to this post.

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The Welcoming Committee

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Some came by Pedicab: First Prize for Transportation

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Some Came in Wagons

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One came in very strange vehicle indeed

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The Garland house was,  as always, totally bedecked: First Prize for Decorations

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Even their side yard was amazing.

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Ghosts, Coffins, Skeletons and Bats were too Scary for Some

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Some  homes on Roma Court have garages which don’t face the main drag. Those residents went all out too:

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Michael Greenberg and the adorable Latte

 

Some came alone. Thank goodness.

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First Prize for Spookiest Solo Act

 

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Believe me, you haven’t seen the last of this guy.

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A Porky Miss Piggy

 

Some Came as Couples:

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Brad and Angela Made an Unexpected Appearance. First Prize for most imaginative Duo.

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The Odd Couple: First Prize for Spiritual Costume

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Gorgeous Ghoul Twosome. I think I spy one of our photographers.

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Beautiful Mom and  Spider-Man son

 

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The always glamorous Anna Cox with husband Brad

 

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And here we have another of our photographers, Marilee Karlsen, accompanied by Father Time, otherwise known as her husband Fred, President of the Silver Strand Marina Homeowners Association.

There were quite of few trios:

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Spanish Royalty made a great threesome

 

Several Families Came Together Ensemble

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Tennis Anyone? First Prize Group Ensemble

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First Prize: Creative Family Group Costuming

 

From the Wizard of Oz we go to the Wonderful Little Ones:

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A Magnificent Peacock: First Prize Children’s Costume

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A Very Excited Butterfly

 

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A  Sweet and Unferocious Lion

 

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Spider-Man climbed down from his Web

 

No Silver Strand Event would be complete without canines:

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Unicorns of the World Unite. First Prize Headdress.

 

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Best in Show!

 

   And so the evening ends. The crowds depart. The Wicked Witch flies back to her perch and Roma Court is quiet once again. Or is it………………….????

 

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Thanks for coming and see you next year!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Breaking News on the Marriott Hotel Project on Via Marina, Marina del Rey, now postponed until December 9.2014

    The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has just posted the agenda for their hearing on November 25, 2014 in which Don Knabe  recommends that a vote on the lease option agreement with Samuel Hardage on his proposed Marriott Hotels project on Via Marina, Parcel 9u, be postponed until December. 9, 2014. Originally the lease option for this project, drawn up by County lawyers and the Department of Beaches and Harbors, and including important new accompanying documents, was made public for the first time on November 6, 2014, and was scheduled to be heard at a BOS meeting on November 18, 2014.  The vote on the proposal was cancelled at the last minute  due to  lack of a quorum. Four votes would have been necessary to vote on the issue and only three supervisors were present (Don Knabe, Gloria Molina and Zev Yarovslasky). Mark Ridley-Thomas and Michael Antonovich were absent.

   Hardage’s various proposals to put up a hotel on Parcel 9u have been a pet project of Knabe’s for many years. They have known each other for a long time and been political allies in Southern California Republican politics for decades.  However, following an editorial in the LA Times,  numerous letters, faxes and emails from the public, including readers of the Silver Strand News, and a letter from Mike Bonin, City of Los Angeles, 11th District Council Member letter criticizing the rush to get Hardage’s hotel project through prior to the seating of two new Supervisors on December 1, 2014, Knabe wisely has had second thoughts. The ill-considered attempt to rush the Hardage proposal through, without adequate public notification, necessary approvals and hearings, could have proved problematic, from many points of view, down the line. In addition, Knabe will not be termed out until 2016 and in the interim will need to work with Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis, the two new Supervisors. Both of them, along with Mark Ridley-Thomas are pro-union. Samuel Hardage is anti-union (Google: Hardage vs City of Emeryville).

  In the meantime, the public should continue to express their concerns to the Board of Supervisors, Mike Bonin and others. Contact information to follow.


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Important: Upcoming LA County Board of Supervisors Hearing on Approval of Lease-Option on Via Marina Marriott Hotel 11/18/2014 and report on Meeting of the Small Craft and Harbor Commission

   The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing which includes approval of granting a lease option to Samuel Hardage to develop two Marriott brand hotels on Parcel 9u, the vacant lot on Via Marina between Marquesas and Tahiti Way. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 9:30 am at the  Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration at 500 West Temple Street, Los Angeles California 90012. Fair warning: this item is number 40 on the agenda, so if you wish to speak you will likely have a long wait. You will need to fill out a speaker card. The standard time to present your statement is 3 minutes, but this can be shortened at the discretion of the BOS Chair. Questions to the Board are not allowed.

    This project is a Marriott Residence Inn and Marriott Courtyard Hotel (formerly known as the Woodfin Hotel Suites and Time Shares). The two hotels will have 288 rooms in all – see post of November 7, 2014 for details.  The project  has had a long and contentious history (you can search this site under “Woodfin” for same). As in the case of the Woodfin, the applicant is Samuel Hardage, now listed as MDR Hotels, LCC. His Woodfin hotel chain is now defunct following his filing for bankruptcy on behalf of the chain in several states.

    It appears that the Board of Supervisors is trying to rush this approval through prior to the seating of two newly elected Supervisors, Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis who will take office on December 1, 2014.  The Board’s  haste is obvious in that the first public noticing of the lease-option document and Addendum to the Final Environmental Report appeared only appeared online on November 6, 2014. The first and only public hearing on the these two documents and the lease option was held on November 12, 2014 at a meeting of the Small Craft and Harbor Commission at Burton Chace Park.  Given the importance of the issue,  both the timing of meeting and the debut appearance of these documents before this particular Commission struck many as being highly unusual. The meeting was held on a weekday morning preventing much of the working public from attending to express their views. As a result only 20-25 members of the public were in attendance.  Further, it was held less than a week prior to the lease-option being considered for approval by the County Board of Supervisors next Tuesday, November 18.

The Documents pertaining to the project and the lease-option can be found here: http://file.lacounty.gov/dbh/docs/cms1_205242.pdf

  During the meeting last Wednesday, Commissioner Russ Lesser (Fourth District) expressed  dissatisfaction with the extremely short time the Commissioners were given to review the foot-high package of documents placed at their side, two of which totaled over 500 pages in length (see link above) He also said that he disliked the lease option concept.  The lease-option arrangement allows Hardage to put down a $100,000 non-refundable deposit and grants him 2 years, plus a possible 6 month extension to get his entitlements, approvals, permits and financing in place. During the construction period, Hardage would pay $107,500 a year in rent to the County. When Hardage receives a Certificate of Occupancy, he will begin paying an escalating rent over an 11-year period. The total rent over this period will be an estimated $51,152 490 plus hotel tax followed by a renegotiation for the remainder of the 60 year lease term. Commissioner Dennis Alfieri (Fifth District) disclosed that he knew two of the developers (even though only one is listed in the lease, see below) but had no financial interest in the project. There were calls from the floor for him to recuse himself which he declined to do.

    Those who filled out speaker cards at were uniformly negative in their views on the project on many counts. Chairman Allyn Rifkin (Third District) neglected to call one resident who had filled out a speaker card and not heard from. Another resident (myself) , was cut off short, even though a staff member had told her that another speaker who filled out a card could cede his time to her and did so. The already approved time extension was denied despite calls from the floor to allow her to continue. Public speakers raised many objections to the project. One speaker reminded the Commission that publicly owned Marina del Rey was not created as a tourist attraction but as a center for pubic recreation and boating in particular. Another questioned the need for another hotel when there are already 6 hotels within a short distance of each other on Via Marina and Admiralty Way with a 7th planned for Fisherman’s Village.  There was an objection to the project increasing the traffic situation on Via Marina, already impacted by massive County approved apartment complexes, built or pending. Another speaker talked about the lack of sufficient planning for ingress and egress of emergency services.  Two speakers stated that a far better use of the 3.66 acre site, the largest undeveloped parcel left in the Marina, would be a public park and educational center. One speaker stated that this hearing and the BOS hearing should have been scheduled after December 1, 2014 when Kuehl and Solis take office since they will have to live with the consequences if the lease option is approved. In addition there were comments about the County’s continued success in blocking off views of the harbor from Via Marina (an officially designated scenic drive) with its aggressive approval of large commercial/residential projects in order to  generate cash for its general fund. It was further noted that the construction phase of this project, if approved, will likely coincide with the City’s proposed  routing of the Venice Dual Force auxiliary pumping line down Via Marina from Marquesas Way south to the channel. Work on the sewer will reduce Via Marina to one lane in each direction for an estimated 20 months.

      Despite the disapproval expressed by the members of the public, the  Small Craft and Harbor Commissioners approved the agreement by a 3 to 1 vote. Approving were Russ Lesser, David Lumian (vice-Chair) and Dennis Alfieri. Only Chairman Allyn Rifkin voted nay.

       The meeting also included a presentation by the City of Los Angeles on the proposed Venice Dual Force auxiliary sewer line. A separate report on this will follow.

         If you are unable to attend the BOS meeting next Tuesday, November 18, you can send an email expressing your opinion to the following Supervisors. You should do so before November 18 in order for your email to be entered into the public record. You can send a single email placing all of the names below in the “To” line.

        Zev Yaroslavsky: <zev@bos.lacounty.gov>     <zev@bos.lacounty.gov>

        Gloria Molina: <molina@bos.lacounty.gov>

        Don Knabe: <don@bos.lacounty.gov><don@bos.lacounty.gov>

        Mark Ridley-Thomas: <MarkRidley-Thomas@bos.lacounty.gov>

        Michael D. Antonovich: <FifthDistrict@lacbos.org>

Posted in Marina del Rey, Marina del Rey: News on County & City Proposals, Silver Strand Marina Homeowners news, Via Marina, Marina del Rey: News on County & City Proposals | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Important Reminder: L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors, Small Craft Harbor Commission to hold public Meeting on Proposed Hotel on Via Marina

Originally posted on The Silver Strand News:

   The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, Small craft Harbor Commission, will hold a meeting on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 10am in the Community Room at Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, MDR. Unlike the “Community Briefing” held on October 22, 2013, this meeting will allow the public to speak as a body. Your comments will go into the public record. You will need to fill out a speaker card and the time limit for each speaker is 3 minutes.

The agenda will include two important  items:

1) Another presentation by the City of Los Angeles’ proposal to route  the Venice Dual Force auxiliary sewer pipe across Marquesas Way and down Via Marina.

2) A review of the Final Environmental Impact Report, Addendum and approval of Option to Lease Agreement to facilitate the Redevelopment at Parcel 9U (Woodfin Hotel).

    Hotel from Via MarinaSketch of the Marriott Residence Inn…

View original 928 more words

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Silver Strand Bicycle Group Plans Next Event: Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

  The Silver Strand Bicycle  Group is planning its next outing on Tuesday, November 18th at 3 pm.  They will meet on the Lighthouse bridge and ride the bike path towards Santa Monica.  They plan to break the ride in time for the Happy Hour at Coast at Shutters Hotel  around 4 – 4:15pm at the latest.  Because of daylight savings time,  the group will be riding home after dark and should plan on putting some sort of light on their bike or helmet. If you would like to join the group or  just meet for the happy hour (and not ride), please leave a comment below.

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Important Reminder: L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors, Small Craft Harbor Commission to hold public Meeting on Proposed Hotel on Via Marina

   The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, Small craft Harbor Commission, will hold a meeting on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 10am in the Community Room at Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, MDR. Unlike the “Community Briefing” held on October 22, 2013, this meeting will allow the public to speak as a body. Your comments will go into the public record. You will need to fill out a speaker card and the time limit for each speaker is 3 minutes.

The agenda will include two important  items:

1) Another presentation by the City of Los Angeles’ proposal to route  the Venice Dual Force auxiliary sewer pipe across Marquesas Way and down Via Marina.

2) A review of the Final Environmental Impact Report, Addendum and approval of Option to Lease Agreement to facilitate the Redevelopment at Parcel 9U.  This is the first public hearing and release of documentation on the proposed lease between the County and MDR Hotels, LCC  (aka Samuel Hardage/ Hardage Hospitality/ Woodfin Hotels et al.)

    Hotel from Via MarinaSketch of the Marriott Residence Inn and Hotel on Via Marina. Courtesy Awbrey Cook McGill Architects and the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors.

Hotel rendering from Via Marina

Conceptual Rendering of the Marriot Residence and Hotel on Via Marina. Courtesy Awbrey Cook McGill Architectects and the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors. 

   The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has drafted a lease agreement with the MDR Hotels, LCC and the Hardage Hospitality Group (one and the same, but formerly known as the Woodfin Hotel and Timeshares) on Parcel 49 on the northern section of the large vacant lot on Via Marina between Marquesas and Tahiti Way. This project was originally initiated by San Diego developer Samuel Hardage of the Woodfin Hotel Group nine years ago. It consisted of a 225 foot high 19-story hotel and timeshare. Due to community resistance, the Board of Supervisors sent it back to the drawing board advising the developer to lower the height and eliminate the time-share element.  In the interim, the Woodfin Hotel group filed for bankruptcy and ceased to be the developer/lessee. The Marriott Hotels now are listed as the applicant/ developer under the title MDR Hotels, LLC with Hardage Hospitality as the initial operator. This will be the third Marriott lease holding in Marina del Rey along with the Marriott Marina del Rey and the Ritz Carlton on Admiralty Way. Other hotels are the Hilton, the Jamaica Bay Inn, the Fog Horn and the Marina del Rey International. There is also a hotel proposed for Fisherman’s Village which would bring the total number of hotels in MDR to eight.

     The revised   plan consists of a 6-story (Marriott Residence Inn) and 5-story (Marriott Courtyard Hotel) structure, placed on an angle to each other, and connected by a single-story structure facing Via Marina and the harbor. There will be 288 rooms/units in all. The Residence portion will accommodate extended stay guests. Parking will be both underground and at grade level. The structures will block most of the view of the harbor along this section of Via Marina (officially designated as a scenic drive). The developer is using the enhancement /restoration of a small 1.47 acre Wetland Park on Parcel 9 at the south-east corner of Via Marina and Tahiti Way to fulfill the view corridor requirement.  The project will also block the views of most of the 4-story high Strand Colony condominiums on the west side of Via Marina. The 6-story Inn will be 72 feet high (this is the same height as the Shores); the 5-story Hotel will be 61 feet high.

    Hardage submitted a letter to the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors on October 23, 2013 including the revised plans. The Design Control Board gave the plans conceptual approval on January 22, 2014. The hotel lease will still have to be approved by the Los Angeles Department of Beaches and Harbors, the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning and the Board of Supervisors.

      At various meetings along the way, the public has expressed continuing concerns about the hotel. They include the following.

     1) The proposed and approved projects along the eastern side of Via Marina increasingly block off views of the harbor from Via Marina (an officially designated scenic drive).

         2) Why is a hotel being permitted in an area which the County’s “Visioning” blue print (unanimously approved last week by the Board of Supervisors) designates as a residential area. Why the need more hotels in Marina del Rey, especially in this neighborhood.

          3) The hotel is yet another project which, following on the heels of the Shores and the AMLI apartment complexes, is adding untenable population density and traffic congestion within the Silver Strand.

        4) If approved, the hotel construction will coincide with the proposed routing of the auxiliary sewer line down Via Marina. What steps will be taken to deal with the double impact on residents of these two projects.

         5) The inadequacy of this and other project plans in terms of addressing the ability of emergency services to access residents on either side of Via Marina and evacuation of the area, an earthquake and tsunami hazard zone, in the event of such a catastrophe.

         6) The architectural design of the hotel looks to be yet another example of the sort of hack commercial aesthetic we have seen in the Shores apartment complex. Eclectic post-Modernism with neither character nor distinction and totally out of keeping with the low-key and low-rise character of the surrounding neighborhood.

        7) This is the last large undeveloped parcel in Marina del Rey. Instead of a hotel, a better use in terms of tourism and the public would be to create a public park which could function as a viewing place for the harbor, include an educational center focusing on  wetland ecology and a marine museum describing the history of Marina del Rey from the Tvonga tribal settlement on through the Rancho La Ballona up to the creation of the harbor.

       Notice of this upcoming meeting, including revised hotel plans, Environmental Reviews, and the draft of the hotel lease were posted on the Department of Beaches and Harbors website last night. The relevant documents can be found at:

      http://file.lacounty.gov/dbh/docs/cms1_205242.pdf

This will download quickly as an Adobe PDF. It includes much important material. You can facilitate going through it by using Adobes “find” search bar.

You can also do a search on the Silver Strand News by typing  “Woodfin” into the search bar for information on the complicated background on this project.

Posted in Marina del Rey: News on County & City Proposals, Silver Strand Marina Homeowners news, Venice, Via Marina | Tagged , | 3 Comments