Thursday, September 15, 2005

Actually, 40 Years Of Experience Does Make You, Um, Experienced

Today's Letters to the Editor in the Daily Breeze featured a letter attacking, among others, my father as someone who - by inference - has done nothing .to make San Pedro a more beautiful place to live.

I guess the letter's author, Ms. Margaret Litman, has us there.

But Ms. Litman's ignorance doesn't start or end with that charge.

The thrust of her argument - part of the continuing town battle over our waterfront development - is that "living here for 40 years or more does not necessarily give anyone special wisdom or expertise." She names 3 San Pedrans and accuses them of resorting to "name-calling and scare tactics in their attempt to control the direction of waterfront development." Along with my father, Louis Dominguez, she names John Mavar and Mel Bobich.

I don't know Mr. Bobich. But I sure as hell know the Mavar name and to accuse that family - one of San Pedro's oldest and best known - of not also putting in long hours bettering the town is just foolish. And of course, my father has spent his entire life in this town serving it in some way. Ms. Litman is free to disagree with the views of those in favor of development, but when she cites others - those embracing "open space" - as the ones who have put in the real work, she goes too far.

I'm clearly biased. But I think 17 years of volunteer work to beautify the official welcoming monument of the City of Los Angeles demonstrates "tireless civic participation" and a "chief and only goal ... [of enhancing] the quality of life for all of us in San Pedro."

Those she lists as the true heroes of San Pedro - June Burlingame Smith, John Miller, and Noel Park - are in favor of keeping all (despite their faux willingness to compromise) of San Pedro's waterfront open space.

Get this straight: parks are great. Louis Dominguez, and I'm betting, John Mavar and Mel Bobich, love parks.

They, however, are fiscally responsible enough to know that parks cost money. Litman and Park (the only one with whose view I am familiar and thus on whom will comment) haven't noticed that it doesn't rain much in Los Angeles and park land doesn't tend itself.

They also seem to wish financial stagnation on our small port community. Why bring in tax dollars and visitors to our lovely town - money to support the parks that people will enjoy? I can't imagine why I'd want to develop our waterfront - lord knows I absolutely adore wasting time, money, and natural resources wearing and tearing local roads so I can give my tax revenue to Hermosa, Redondo, Santa Monica, Torrance, Long Beach, or any number of other smartly developed, popular destinations.

We're not looking to rebuild the South Bay Galleria on Harbor Blvd. We are looking to give jobs to San Pedrans. We are looking to find smart ways to capitalize on our natural assets and make San Pedro - Los Angeles's waterfront - the jewel is longs to be.

Litman closes her letter by correctly saying that a majority of residents support a waterfront "wish list" that includes areas of open space and parks. There Will Be Parks And Open Space. Get it? But that can't be all there is. Don't be fooled by Litman, Park, and a few others who make it seem like those who truly care about the economic viability - and community spirit - of our town want to remove every tree, bush, and shrub, and replace them with groves of Starbuckses. They want it all for open space. They misstate the position of their opponents loudly and repeatedly.

They don't speak for me. And they don't care about anyone but themselves.

Want to take action? There's an open house and public comment session this evening in San Pedro. Click here for more info and links.

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