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 the the City of Los Angeles Venice Dual Pumping Plant Auxiliary Sewer Line Project in Marina del Rey

     The Silver Strand News is grateful to Bill Boyd, Marilee Karlsen, Nora Nicosia, Beth Holden-Garland, Lynne Shapiro, Kris Ellenberg, Beth Holden-Garland, Cassie Hermiston-Boyd and Jon Nahhas for their contributions to this report.

 

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October 22, 2104 Meeting at Burton Chace Park about the City of Los Angeles’ proposed Venice Dual Force Auxiliary Sewer Line on Via Marina, Marina del Rey

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Gary Garland, SSMHOA Board member asking questions of one of the City of Los Angeles representatives.

    October 22, 2014. As estimated 70 people, including many Silver Strand residents, attended a  City of Los Angeles’ “Community Briefing” at Burton Chace Park on October  on the City’s proposal to route an auxiliary sewer line across the Grand Canal, down via Marina to Playa del Rey and terminating at the Hyperion Sewer Plant. No doubt more people would have attended if notice of the meeting had been sent out in a timely manner to all City and County residents living on on both sides of Via Marina, i.e. those who will be most directly impacted by the project. This was the first major briefing held for these residents. The City had made three earlier and very brief presentations to the Marina del Rey Lessees Association, the Westchester Chamber of Commerce and the Venice Neighborhood Council.

Sewer Plan

Proposed Venice Dual Force Sewer Line route along Via Marina, Marina del Rey

    While everyone agrees that the auxiliary pipe is needed, the route has been a subject of controversy for several years.  The other viable alternatives to the Via Marina route were:

1) along Pacific Avenue

2) on the beach on the Venice Peninsula beside the existing pipe line. Pacific Avenue was deemed too narrow given the scope of the construction:

The concerns about the beach route, where the main sewer pipe is currently located, were 1) that the new relief line should be separated from the old line in order for it to function in the event of an earthquake/tsunami and 2) Putting a new line on the beach would disturb the least tern nesting site. Members of the public said that in terms of a major earthquake, the impact on the line, whether it is on the beach or a few hundred yards east on Via Marina, seems academic. It was also pointed out that the beach route is the shortest and least expensive method of putting in the new sewer line and also that construction could take place during the period when the least tern is not nesting. Compared to the Via Marina route, the beach route would be the least expensive route and have the least impact in terms of numbers of affected residents.

     The presentation given by the City  dealt mainly with the importance of going ahead with the sewer line. Very little time (10%) was spent talking about the impact of construction on residents. Instead of allowing the audience, as a body, to address questions, attendees were directed to disperse and talk to various representatives, one-on-one style, stationed at tables around the room.  Nora Nicosia described the meeting as being very tightly controlled and designed to dissipate residents’ extremely negative feelings about the project. A “Town Meeting” format, with City representatives seated on the dais, would have produced a more satisfactory and meaningful debate between the  public and the City, something the latter appeared to go out its way to avoid.

      The project will include 11 shafts 25′ in diameter and 40-50′ in depth. Three of the shafts will be on Marquesas Way between the Venice Pumping Plant and Via Marina. Micro-tunneling will be used for the majority of the route. Only the last 1000 feet, in Playa del Rey, will involve open trenching. If the necessary permits are granted, the work is scheduled to begin in early 2016. Construction on Marquesas Way and Via Marina is expected to last for 20 months. The entire construction period will be three years.

       Following the October 22 meeting, the City appeared at a Small Craft and Harbor Commission Meeting and gave another presentation It was obvious that both the public and the Commissioners were not happy about the project (the County went to court with the City over the proposed route, but lost).

     The Concerns:

     1) Damage to the coral trees at the Silver Strand Triangle and in the median strip on Via Marina. The City has said that only 5 trees at the parking lot at the southern end of Via Marina will be removed. However, the boring shafts are 25 feet in diameter and Coral trees have wide spreading roots, so there is no guarantee that they will not be affected. These are mature trees and due to their age drought tolerant.

     2) During the 20 month period construction on Marquesas Way and Via Marina, traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction. This will exacerbate the already existing traffic congestion on Via Marina, making it difficult for residents on either side of Via Marina to enter and exit. It will also impact access by emergency services. In addition, if the two proposed Marriott Hotels on Via Marina are eventually approved by the County, their construction will coincide with the sewer line work creating an untenable traffic situation on Via Marina.

     3) The boring process and vibration from same. As Jon Nahas, of The Boaters Coalition  has pointed out, the route along Via Marina is sited on landfill, subject to liquefaction in an earthquake and also lies along many abandoned oil and gas wells. The capping of the wells began in the 1940s and continued into the 1980s. However, the capping standards in those days were not as stringent as they are today. The dangers of boring in the vicinity of these wells must be considered. There are also concerns about de-watering and  on-site toxic waste storage and its effect on residents.

Capped Oil Wells Via Marina

Capped oil wells in the Silver Strand, Marina del Rey

  4) Jon Nahhas also asked that City furnish him and the public with the Court documents relating to the suit between the City and the County.

   5) The working hours proposed by the City will impose an intolerable burden on residents. The City and the County are still negotiating this and other issues.

  The project is currently in the permitting phase and needs final approval from the County, the Los Angeles City Council and the California Coastal Commission. You can review documents about the sewer line here:

DEIR Venice Pumping Plant

Notice of Preparation and Initial Study

Venice Dual Force Main Project Map

Final Environmental Impact Report

Mitigation Monitoring Program

Since this City of Los Angeles is still in the permitting process, now is  the time  to express you opinion and concerns about it. When you do, remember that this is City of Los Angeles proposal, not a Los Angeles County proposal. The County was vehemently opposed to the Via Marina route, but lost in court.  Here is a list of whom to contact:

City of Los Angeles:

The Honorable Mike Bonin, City of  Los Angeles Council District 11 :email: <mike.bonin@lacity.org> (213)473-7011.

Debbie Dyner Harris, District Director, Council District 11: email <debbie.dynerharris@lacity.org> (310) 575-8461.

[Mike Bonin represents residents living on the west side of Via Marina south of Marquesas Way and also the residents of Venice Peninsula. Despite the Marina del Rey zip code, both of these areas are under the City of Los Angeles jurisdiction.]

 Dr. Jan Green Rebstock, Environmental Supervisor I, City of Los Angeles, Department of Public Engineering: email: <Jan.Green.Rebstock@lacity.org> (213) 485 5761.

To contact the entire City Council see:http://lacity.org/government/ElectedOfficialOffices/CityCouncil/CouncilDirectory/index.htm

Los Angeles County:

The Honorable Sheila Kuehl, Los Angeles County Supervisor : email: <sheila@bos.lacounty.gov> Phone number of her assistant (213-974-3333

[Sheila Kuehl, Third District, represents residents of the east side of  Via Marina, south of Marquesas Way, along with residents on the west side of Via Marina and the Venice Peninsula, all of which are part of the Third District of Los Angeles County.]

To contact all members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors see:http://bos.co.la.ca.us/

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

Urgent Request re the Oxford Basin Lagoon on Admiralty Way: Tree cutting and Monarch Butterflies

This just in  from Marcia Hanscom of the Ballona Institute
We’ve now got a double emergency at Oxford Lagoon today.   Nature gave us a sunny day, which we are grateful for – but that means the contractor hired by the County of LA is out at the lagoon – with workers fanning out with ladders & chainsaws. If they are not stopped today, the expectation is 40-50 of the 650 trees we’ve all been working to save will be cut down and killed.
At the same time, we’ve now documented the Eucalyptus trees in the project site to be autumnal & winter roosts for the Monarch Butterfly.  This is NEW INFORMATION that the CA Dept of Fish & Wildlife did not take into account when issuing the County a permit. It is likely – had they known – this work might not have been allowed to proceed at this time of year, if at all, because of this butterfly species being on the state’s list of “Species of Special Concern.”
Here’s a photo naturalist Jonathan Coffin took this week!
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Please call state Senator Ben Allen and State Assemblymember Autumn Burke TODAY and ask that they contact the Dept of Fish & Wildlife to a) STOP the work immediately – which they have the authority to do for the butterflies – and to b) send a biologist to a meeting we have scheduled with the county dept of public works on the topic of Oxford Lagoon on Monday at 10:30 am!
Call now!
Senator Ben Allen tel:(310) 318-6994
Assemblymember Autumn Burke tel:(310) 412-6400
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Development in Marina del Rey: Los Angeles County plans on renovating the Oxford Avenue Retention Basin

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A snowy egret at the Oxford Basin, Marina del Rey

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The Oxford Basin on Admiralty Way

   All of you who drive on Admiralty Way in Marina del Rey are probably aware of this 10- acre site which is part of what little remains of the original Ballona wetlands. What you see now is a very degraded wetland, surrounded by chicken-wire fencing, with the water covered with algae. Nevertheless, the Oxford Basin  functions  as an indispensable habitat and nesting spot for 51 species of birds and, secondarily,  as a flood control basin. Los Angeles County is now planning on “renovating” the basin by removing all diseased, non-native trees (650 of them) and non-native plants and replacing them with native, drought-tolerant plantings. In addition, the County plans to put in trails around the basin, public viewing spots and educational signage. The County estimates that cost of the project will be $13,500,000. The work was scheduled to begin a few days ago but has been delayed due to the rain.

   While most agree that the basin needs to be upgraded, according to Marcia Hanscom of the Ballona Institute, several environmental groups including the Sierra  Club, the Ballona Institute, the Grass Roots Coalition, the Los Angeles County Audubon Society the West Los Angeles Democratic Club, the Beach Cities Democratic Club and the Ballona Ecosystem Education are opposed to the idea of removing all the existing trees. Representatives from several of these groups will be meeting tomorrow with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. Native trees or not, the current population of  birds in the Oxford Basin have adapted to the site as a nesting spot for decades. All birds are creatures of habit and any disturbance to their nesting site tends to produce negative results and a diminution in their number.

  Marcia Hanscom is asking those who support a more moderate approach to the renovation in terms of tree removal to call the five members of the Board of Supervisors and request that one of them be present at the meeting. You can also express your opinion on this subject by using the following contact  information:

* Don Knabe 213-974-4444 (staff: Steve Napolitano – 310-222-3015 – call both offices!)

* Sheila Kuehl: 213-974-3333 (ask to speak to Maria Chong-Castillo even if they say this is not her district – her constituents live in nearby Venice)

* Mark Ridley-Thomas 213-974-2222 (ask to speak to Karly Katona – even if they say this is not his district – his constituents live directly across the street)

* Hilda Solis 213-974-4111 

* Mike Antonovich 213-974-5555
Posted in Marina del Rey, Marina del Rey: News on County & City Proposals | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Happy Hanukkah 2014

    In the winter months, there are many celebrations by different cultures and religions which seek to drive out the darkness, among them the Jewish observance of Hanukkah (Chanukah) which this year will be celebrated beginning tonight, Tuesday, December 16 and ending on the evening of Wednesday, December 24.   The dates of this festivity vary from year to year.  In the Jewish lunar calendar, Hanukkah is a “floating” event, whereas  Christmas is not (at least in modern times). phot courtesy stylinggame.blogspot.comHanukkah, which means “dedication,” commemorates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. It is a celebration of victory in the face of adversity. The holiday is also called “The Festival of Lights.” The Menorah, a nine-branched candelabra, is displayed in homes with a new candle being lit on each night during the eight day observance. Originally, when the Jews first tried to light the Menorah, they  found only enough oil for one night. Miraculously, the oil burned for 8 nights. The 9th and central candle is the Shamash which is used to light the other candles and is the first candle to be lit.  Blessings are said over the candle lighting on each night.

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Hanukkah is a happy occasion accompanied by delicious food including latkes (potato pancakes), brisket, challah and doughnuts  In the photograph above, children play the traditional dreidel game with chocolate coins and a spinning top.

FN_Potato-Latkes_s4x3Potato pancakes: Photo courtesy the Food Network. These are so good that it’s hard not to overindulge. While they can make a serious dent in your diet plan, that’s what holiday food is all about. And these are worth it!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Reminder: 2014 Holiday Boat Parades and Fireworks in Marina del Rey and the Venice Canals this weekend

There are two traditional holiday boat parades in our neighborhood, both much loved by residents and their children.

Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014  5:55pm– 52nd  Marina  del Rey Holiday Boat Parade which will include Fireworks

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The fireworks will go off at 5:55pm and be staged at the entrance to the main channel of the Marina del Rey harbor on the Playa del Rey side. This parade, which began in 1963,  has large and small boats festooned with lights and decorations. The boats will circle the harbor three times during the evening starting at 6pm and end around 8pm. Silver Strand residents can get a great view of the fireworks and the parade by walking down to the southern end of Via Marina. Walk or bike down there as the parking is limited. The Judges’ viewing stand, along with other festivities will be at Burton Chace Park.

Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, 4:00pm– Venice Canals  Association, 33nd  Holiday Boat Parade:

parade

This parade is delightful with canal residents decorating their small boats with great creativity, a sweet “home-made” event. Some boats carry live bands. Children love this parade because they can get a close-up view in daylight.  Adults love it because of its zaniness. Best to walk or bike there as parking is very limited, although you may find parking at the Mothers Beach lot or in the Silver Triangle neighborhood between Mildred and Washington Blvd. The parade starts at 4pm at the corner of Eastern and Sherman Canals and float around the entire canal circuit. You you can get a great view from any point along the route. If you stay until after sunset, you will be able to view residents extraordinary holiday decorations which are, to put it mildly, over the top.

Posted in Holidays, Marina del Rey, Marina del Rey/Venice Events, Silver Strand Marina Homeowners news, Venice Events | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Update on the Marriott Hotels on Via Marina: Board of Supervisors will not vote on the lease option until 2015.

   The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors has decided to postpone once again voting on approving a lease option to Samuel Hardage and his proposal to erect 2 Marriott hotels on Via Marina until 2015. No specific date has been mentioned. The Board was originally scheduled to vote on this on November  18, 2014, but it required a vote of 4 out 5 Supervisors to pass and a quorum was not present. It was then postponed until December 9, 2014.  It has now been postponed until 2015. Marcia Hanscom of The Ballona Institute communicated and confirmed this with Supervisors Don Knabe, Sheila Kuehl and Mark Ridley-Thomas. The Agenda for the December 9 lists this as Item 23 and states that the Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors has requested that this item be referred back to them before the BOS votes.  The Department of Beaches and Harbors, along with County counsel, is in charge of negotiating and approving agreements between the County and lessees, prior to submission the Board of Supervisors.

     The lease option, along with new documents connected with it, was only made public on November 6, and then only online and with very limited notification to those affected. Final approval will now have to go before the Department of Beaches and Harbors,  the Department of Regional Planning and finally the Board of Supervisors. No doubt many factors were involved in Knabe’s decision including the fact that many residents and organizations wrote the Board of Supervisors objecting to the project and the lack of timely notification to the public. The Los Angeles County Small Craft and Harbor Commission, which held the first and so far only public hearing on the lease option and new documents associated with the project (totaling several hundred pages), was asked to vote on the lease option in early November. It voted to approve, however the one dissenting vote was by Chairman Allan Rifkin, Zev Yarovosky’s appointee, who appeared to feel that the vote was being rushed through prior to the seating of Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl. Another Commision member, Russ Lesser stated that the Commission was not being given enough time to review the many pages of new documents and also expressed dissatisfaction with the lease option (he nevertheless voted to approve).

     It is expected that organizations including the Ballona Institute and the Sierra Club, along with the public, including residents of both MDR, the City of Los Angeles, and recreational users of the Marina del Rey harbor will keep up their efforts to keep Hardage’s project from coming to fruition. The is a wide-spread view that a far better use of this site, the last and largest remaining undeveloped parcel with uninterrupted views of the harbor, should be developed as a public park.  The Silver Strand News will keep you posted re any upcoming Los Angeles County meetings on the this issue.

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

Silver Strand Bicycle Group had a great ride from the Lighthouse Bridge

The Silver Strand Bicycle Group had a lovely time riding from the Lighthouse Bridge to Shutters on the Beach and back.  They enjoyed drinks at Happy Hour and watched a beautiful sunset.

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They are planning new adventures on wheels in 2015. We will keep you posted.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment