Jon Nahas is a local resident who has appeared at and spoken at many City and County public hearings on important issues concerning Marina del Rey, including transparency in government. Below is the letter he submitted for the public record to Dr. Jan Green Rebstock of the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering and members of City of Los Angeles Council Member Mike Bonin’s staff on January 22, 2015:
Comment on the Substantial Issues with the Venice Dual Force Main Project:
- 1) Public Safety on Drilling Near Abandoned Oil Wells
The use of micro-tunneling near numerous abandoned oil wells (more than 14), some of which have been found to be leaking gas by the California Superior Court, is a serious public hazard. There has been considerable public concern about digging, cutting, grinding, etc. near the proposed path close to the abandoned wells of: Edgar Brown #1, Burks #2, Burks#3, Morrison #1, Dow #7, #9 & #10, and Ohio #5, #6 & #11. The Public has requested information on the permits on the abandoned wells and evidence for the mitigation of these severe environmental impacts. The City of Los Angeles has not provided the information as of the date of this comment.
2. Traffic Problems
There will be severe traffic issues with the partial closure of Via Marina Ave. The County of Los Angeles has asserted through Court pleadings that the traffic study conducted for this project by the City of LA was severely flawed. The City of LA failed to provide any information to contest the allegations in Court or in the public process that followed for the Coastal Development Permit on the project.
3. Public Participation Minimized
The Public was provided two “informational meetings” which the City of LA officials and their consultants refused to answer questions in an open forum. The attending public was required to ask questions privately to the numerous department officials that were scattered throughout the meeting hall. At the CDP Public Hearing on January 21, 2015, the public speakers were severely limited to 2 minutes to speak and there were only 19 speaker cards (38 minutes total public speaking time for a 2 hour Public Hearing). 6 of the first 19 public speakers could not be heard because the microphone was not turned on.
4. Important Information Withheld
The City of Los Angeles knowingly and willfully withheld important information from the public regarding this project. The project was the subject of a long litigation process that went all the way to the CA Supreme Court and the public had the right to know the details that the County of LA and the City of LA used in their pleadings. A summary of the Court rulings should have been included in each staff report created for the project and reports generated to the public prior to their comments. The public requested information from the City of LA regarding the lawsuits but those records were never provided.