Democracy, by its nature, fosters a relationship between elected officials and their constituents. In a previous letter, I praised Los Angeles Councilwoman Ruth Galanter for her then-opposition to Playa Vista. Unfortunately, like other relationships, this has soured due to Galanter's seeming capitulation to the developer to allow them to build a development equal to two Century Cities, creating over 200,000 daily car trips on the already congested roads.
Though this souring is, on my personal level, a disappointment, Playa Vista will affect all of Southern California with its burden of congestion, gridlock and the resultant air pollution. Galanter and the council are falling for the old pickup line of jobs creation as touted by the developer. But a healthy job base is created when the environment is healthy, and what employer would want to stay in an area choking on smog and stressed from insane traffic conditions?
At a time when the city so desperately needs cures and corrections to congestion, traffic and pollution, Galanter and the City Council are not giving us relief, but the cyanide pill of Playa Vista.
Councilwoman Ruth Galanter did exactly what we elected her to do: She paid close attention to this enormous project, praised the good points, and severely criticized those areas that were less than what they should be. She fine-tuned this enormous mixed-use development.
We in Venice have witnessed just about every slick developer's publicity job imaginable. We were highly suspicious of Maguire Thomas Partners when they took over Playa Vista from Summa Corp. Nelson Rising (the senior partner in charge of the project) came to us, listened, and invited us to participate with him in designing Playa Vista.
The architectural charettes, open to all of us, involved literally everyone in the impacted area who chose to have input. Hundreds of people attended and submitted ideas and solutions. If I have one criticism of the project, it is that not enough credit is given to the community input that helped create this extraordinary development.
By the way, I did not see Sen. Tom Hayden or any member of his staff participate in the long, arduous community charette process or the ecological workshops that all of us went through in helping plan Playa Vista. His sudden appearance last December was very late in the process. I seriously question the value of his objections. Why wasn't he in the trenches with us from the beginning?
Sen. Hayden wants the Playa Vista land bought for a park. Nice thought. How does he propose to purchase it? I figure about $750 million would do it. Does he have $750 million? Do you? I don't.
Sister City Program for Santa Monica
I'm all for Santa Monica's effort to adopt a "sustainable city" program (Times, Sept. 12) that measures each project or action by its ultimate global effect.
What a positive and hope-affirming step! The Santa Monica City Council should have our full support.
Many Bookstores for Children in L.A.
In Mary Yarber's Education column on choosing books for children (Times, Sept. 12), she mentioned fast-growing children's sections in bookstores as proof of increased awareness of the importance of reading.
What might also be of interest to local parents and schools is that Southern California is blessed with 35 children's bookstores, 13 in L.A. County! Not only do they sell a vast range of books for young readers, these specialized stores are staffed with knowledgeable salespeople who take pride in their ability to help and guide customers with their most specific needs. Many of these stores also facilitate book fairs on school, church and synagogue sites, offering a wonderful service to families eager to bring the pleasures of reading to their children and to help them grow through literature.
NANCY SMILER LEVINSON