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Strange Political Tradition in Marina del Rey

By       Message Bob Patterson     Permalink
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[<B>Full disclosure</B>: While this columnist has been doing fact checking, and file organization work for the Marian (del Rey, CA) Tenants Association, the thought occurred that a collection of tidbits might be of interest to the folks outside the Los Angeles enclave because a quick recapitulation of some of the top news briefs might serve as a paradigm for all the examples of antagonism in contemporary American culture which exist among/between voters, journalist, and politicians of all parties. Lest any reader make the assumption that some of this column has been fictionalized in an attempt to achieve humor, we will insert the boring academic style citations that prove "we're not making this stuff up."]

<B>Republicans, Democrats, Voters, and Journalists participate in a perpetual round robin of squabbling</B>

On August 13, 1961, on page one of the Los Angeles Examiner, Jack Keating, under the headline "County's New Giveaway Deals" wrote: "Something is DEAD WRONG with concession leasing and land deals under Los Angeles County's multi-million dollar recreation program that leaves the door wide open for the Board of Supervisors to give favored parties 'special treatment.'" The story suggested: "The need for a major shakeup in policies of the county board is indicated."

In "The Urban Marina: Managing and Developing Marina del Rey" written by Marsha V. Rood and Robert Warren (for the Center fro Urban affairs Sea Grant Program and published by USC) notes, on page 36, that at the same time the Express was questioning the possibility of Giveaway Deals: "In August 1961, the Small Property Owners League of Los Angeles County and the Venice Canal Improvement Association asked by letter that the County Grand Jury investigate the propriety, if not the legality, of a number of the Marina's aspects, . . ." On page 37, readers learn "No Grand Jury action was taken on the request."

In the forward to the study, published in 1974, it was stated: "No explicit decision was made on the basis of public debate to transform the recreational boating facility into a multi-million dollar regional activity center with predominantly land-oriented development."

In the Thirties, the Army Corps of Engineering held a hearing to explore the possibility of building a man made marina on the Western edge of Los Angeles County. When Mrs. Edmund S. Fuller, of the National Audubon Society, wanted to discuss the seventy three species of birds in the area, she was informed the Army Corps of Engineer's weren't authorized to consider environmental issues. The tradition of evading public input had been established two decades before the ceremonial first shovelful of dirt had been excavated.

After the formal dedication ceremony was held in 1965, the locals immediately began the tradition of squabbling with the politicians. Boat owners fought slip rate increases and, after a series of rapid rent increases, area residents formed a Tenants Association to advocate a need for rent control.

By June of 1979, when the County Board of Supervisors faced the issue of a proposal to impose controls in the county's incorporated areas, the Los Angeles Times wrote an editorial on June 1, which noted: "Like other attempts to limit rents, it would be a snare and a delusion."

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On that same day, James A. Hayes, the area's representative on the County Board of Supervisors, resigned without a word of explanation.

On the following day, Saturday June 2, 1979, Bill Boyarsky, in a front page story for the Los Angeles Times, said: "Nobody answered the door at Hayes' home in the expensive Palos Verdes community of Rolling Hills. And he had changed his home phone number, effective Friday. Aides said he had left on an out-of-state vacation."

Governor Jerry Brown replaced Hayes with Yvonne Burke and she was quickly replaced in the next election, by Deane Dana and things returned to the traditional method of being handled. By October of 1981, Steve Coll writing in the L. A. Weekly (Vol. 3 No. 47) noted that the voters had been stymied: "The developers are getting away with murder," says Seymour Kern, a member of the 1980 -- 81 grand jury and chairman of a subcommittee that investigated the rents the county charges developers at Marina del Rey, only to find that the Department of Small Craft Harbors had precluded any action through rulings favorable to the developers."

In a move to pull an end run on the Board of Supervisors, Marina residents mounted a grass roots effort to establish cityhood. Their efforts were quickly neutralized. Mark Gladstone (L. A. Times March 14, 1985) explained how: "For the second time in less than a year, a legislative attempt has been launched that could block Marina del Rey residents from forming their own city.

"A bill, introduced last week by Sen. William Lockyer (D-Hayward), would prevent residents from taking preliminary steps toward incorporation in areas where less than 50% of the land is privately owned.

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"Marina del Rey, an 800-acre waterfront community with at least 8,500 residents, is almost entirely owned by Los Angeles County."

Later in 1985, (L. A. Weekly Vol. 7 No. 52) an article headlined "The Selling of L. A. County" offered a special investigative report into the effects of campaign donations on county land-use practices by Ron Curran and Lewis MacAdams, with the subhead: "Developers in L. A. County are giving record amounts of money to the Board of Supervisors and getting in return virtually everything they request."

The article started (Page 24) by saying: "For some years now it has been common knowledge in political circles that the Board of Supervisors, notably the three conservative members who form a majority, have been massively underwritten by the contributions of land developers eager to have their way in the county with as little interference as possible."

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BP graduated from college in the mid sixties (at the bottom of the class?) He told his draft board that Vietnam could be won without his participation. He is still appologizing for that mistake. He received his fist photo lesson from a future (more...)

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