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Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2001 at 11:42 PM
A small area of the Ballona Wetlands could become a State Park...details here about the Jan 17th meeting, contact info, and web information..... as well as a newspaper article...
Following are two posts regarding a hearing on Jan 17th to make part of the Ballona Wetlands a state park:
- Playa Vista Mega Development or a New State Park - Jan. 17th @ 4:00
Most of us are not activists or environmentalists.
But this is our neighborhood.
We can say no to more strip malls & office space!
We can say no to 13,000 more housing units in our backyard!
We can say no to 26,000 more cars cutting through our neighborhood!
WE can say YES to a NEW STATE PARK between Mar Vista & Playa del Rey.
If you need a ride, send me back an e-mail.
If you have room in your car for a neighbor, send me back an e-mail.
Better yet, invite a neighbor to go along.
Tom Ponton ewstogo@g...
State Controller Kathleen Connell has confirmed a public hearing date
for discussion on what citizens would like to see Area C become --
more strip malls and office space or a restored wetlands and
parkspace. Background: Area C is North of Ballona Creek and East of
Lincoln Boulevard. There are currently NO entitlements or permits for
this land (it's part of "Phase 2"). Culver Blvd. runs right through
the middle of Area C. A tidal creek from the sea ALSO runs through
this land. ....Area C provides food, refuge and home to thousands of
killifish, numerous bird species and two rare plants found nowhere
else in the remaining1,087 acre Ballona Wetlands ecosystem.
Wednesday, January 17, 2001
Loyola University, St. Roberts Hall Auditorium
7900 Loyola Blvd.
Los Angeles (Westchester)
4:00 - 6:30 pm
Know that losing Area C was a MAMMOTH LOSS for the developers. They
are going to fight very hard to try and get control of it again. We,
the community, need to ensure we keep the upper hand on this. Your
attendance will make the difference.
For additional information:
BALLONA WETLANDS LAND TRUST
Phone: (310) 338-1413 or Toll Free at 1-877-Wetland
Fax: (310) 399-2920
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2001 23:07:14 -1000
From: Marcia Hanscom wetlandact@e...
Subject: Ballona Hearing: WEDNESDAY 1/17 - 4-6:30 PM
Natural Park or Traffic-Generating Development? Which
would you rather
see for the 70+ acres of the Ballona Wetlands ecosystem
known as "Area
C" on Ballona Creek?
Come and express your views at a hearing called by
Controller Kathleen Connell
Wednesday, January 17, 2001
Loyola University, St. Roberts Hall Auditorium
7900 Loyola Blvd.
Los Angeles (Westchester)
4:00 - 6:30 pm
parking is approximately 5-10 walking distance from the
see: and click on campus map for further
details about the
location of the Auditorium from the entrance of the
PLEASE TELL ALL OF YOUR NEIGHBORS, FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO
COME TO THIS
IMPORTANT HEARING. THIS IS THE FIRST PARCEL OF LAND AT
BALLONA THAT IS
POSSIBLE TO BECOME A NATURAL STATE PARK AREA -- and not
tied to an
There are currently NO entitlements or permits for this
land (it's part
of "Phase 2"); it's boundaries are Ballona Creek to the
Blvd. to the west and the 90 Marina freeway to the east.
runs right through the middle of Area C. A tidal creek
from the sea
ALSO runs through this land. ....Area C provides food,
refuge and home
to thousands of killifish, numerous bird species, two
rare plants found
nowhere else in the remaining1,087 acre Ballona Wetlands
lands....definitely worth preserving and restoring as a
COME ON - EVERYONE - this is an EASY one to support.
PHASE 2 - NO
entitlements; NO permits; land ALREADY belongs to the
State. See you
there for a BIG win for Los Angeles and the Pacific
Wetlands Action Network
Protecting & Restoring Wetlands Along the Pacific
PO Box 1145
Malibu, CA 90265
310-456-5604; fax: 310-456-5612
From: "Marcia Hanscom" [Add to Address Book]
Subject: Connell Requests Wetlands Hearing
Ballona Activists: Letters to the Editor are in order! Advocate for
these 70+ acres of land to be moved into State Parks' hands, for Bowen
and Nakano to step up to the plate to author legislation for this - to
do what their constituents want!; Praise Connell for her courage, for
the public hearing; plea with people to attend the hearing; correct the
record; comment on Playa Vista's negative impacts. SPEAK UP!!! Please
write: Letters to the Editor, Daily Breeze, 5215 Torrance Blvd.,
Torrance, CA 90503
Connell Requests Wetlands Hearing
Latest Playa Vista flap may take political tone
Daily Breeze (distribution in South Bay, including Los Angeles
communities of Playa del Rey, Venice, Mar Vista and San Pedro)
January 7, 2001 - FRONT PAGE, SUNDAY EDITION (above the fold)
By Mary Moore
Taking a swipe at Playa Vista's developer and seeking favor with Los
Angeles environmentalists, state Controller Kathleen Connell has called
for a public hearing to determine what should happen to property coveted
by the developer but owned by the state.
Playa Vista Capital had an option to buy the 73-acre piece of land,
which the state acquired in 1984 from the Howard Hughes Estate to settle
a tax debt. However, the deadline on the option expired on Dec. 31 --
without an offer to buy from Playa.
Connell, a Los Angeles mayoral candidate, could have extended the
option, but decided not to. Her decision, a surprise to the developer,
throws a wrench into Playa's plans to develop the land -- although the
delay may be more symbolic than damaging.
Playa executives had hoped Connell would extend the option so they could
postpone a decision to buy the land. That decision hinges on whether the
next phase of the Westchester-area development receives necessary
The development has been mired in bitter feuds between the developer and
environmentalists, who oppose any development and favor restoring the
area as the Ballona Wetlands.
Environmentalists are claiming victory as Connell moves forward with
plans for a public discussion on alternative uses for the 73 acres, a
hearing that could be scheduled in as little as two weeks. They are
urging Connell to support their proposal: give the 73 acres to the state
parks department and preserve it as open space.
Connell, a member of the State Lands Commission, estimates the 73-acre
parcel east of Lincoln Boulevard is worth 5million, although people
familiar with the property say that appraisal does not account for
methane contamination discovered on the Playa Vista property.
Although Connell said she likes the idea of preserving the area as open
space, she is not committed to a particular proposal. For example, she
said, housing activists support the Playa Vista development for the
affordable rental units and homes it offers.
"I'm going to be keeping an open mind," she said. "It's the last piece
of major land intact in the city of Los Angeles."
Option created by Davis
The option agreement for the land created by Gov. Gray Davis when he was
state controller and Maguire Thomas was the Playa Vista developer. In
1994, Davis extended the option.
Playa executives said they are disappointed Connell refused to extend
the option, but they are quick to add that they could still end up with
the property. The agreement gives Playa Capital the right to match any
future offers -- a right of first refusal.
"The developer continues to look forward to developing it," said Coby
King, a Playa spokesman.
If Connell and lawmakers push to convert the parcel into a park, rather
than sell it, Playa's rights are unclear. The option applies most
clearly to a sale of the 73 acres, not to a parkland conversion.
Why didn't Playa exercise the option before it expired?
"Playa Vista had an option to purchase the land at 5 million and
didn't do so. We see this as a valuable piece of property," King said.
"But we really feel that, until entitlements are in place, it's probably
not a good idea to buy the land."
If a state-mandated environmental analysis of the next development phase
passes legal muster, Playa Vista will be eligible to apply for permits
to build -- known as entitlements. At that point, King said, buying the
73-acre parcel might make more sense.
King said the environmental reports could be out in the next two or
three months. Others familiar with the Playa project say the report may
be out on Jan. 15.
According to King, Playa's original plan for the 73 acres includes 21
acres of open space, a salt water lagoon, habitat restoration and
parks. The area also would include 2,000 new homes, 900,000 square feet
of offices, and 30,000 square feet of community space. King said the
entire Playa project earmarks 25 percent of its housing units as
"The Westside is crying out for affordable housing," he said.
A matter of timing
Connell's involvement in the fate of the 73 acres is perfectly timed for
her run for mayor, fueling speculation that she has picked Playa Vista
to showcase herself as an environmentalist -- a criticism Connell
She first took a public stand on Playa Vista last summer, when she
blocked a deal backed by Playa Capital and Los Angeles City Councilwoman
Ruth Galanter to swap the state's 73-acre land for developer-owned land
west of Lincoln Boulevard.
Connell balked, arguing that the state-controlled land is worth more
than the land the developer was willing to offer. The swap would have
given Playa developers the state's parcel cash-free, but it would have
allowed Galanter and the nonprofit Friends of Ballona Wetlands to
acquire a piece of the wetlands that they consider more viable for
restoration than the 73-acre site.
Playa's lobbyists approached Sen. Debra Bowen, D-Redondo Beach, and
then-Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa, asking them to introduce
legislation and make the land swap happen.
But the request came near the end of the legislative session -- not
enough time for Bowen and Villaraigosa, who refused to do anything
unless they knew the true value of the land to be swapped.
If the 73 acres is turned into a park, that land swap proposal would be
rendered irrelevant. The developer no longer would have anything to
swap. Bowen, however, has said she may reintroduce legislation
authorizing a land swap.
Candidates take stands
Coming just three months before the city's election, Connell's recent
strong stance on Playa Vista follows Villaraigosa's position.
Villaraigosa, another candidate for Los Angeles mayor, became the
darling of the anti-Playa Vista environmentalists when he pushed for a
million park bond, a portion of which is earmarked to buy land at
Vista and restore it as wetlands. Voters approved the bond last spring.
Connell's critics question whether her recent high profile on Playa
Vista is an orchestrated effort to outshine Villaraigosa as the
environmental candidate for mayor. On that score, however, Villaraigosa
appears to be the one to beat.
He has received an endorsement from the League of Conservation Voters
and has been recommended for an endorsement by the Sierra Club's
political committee. The Sierra Club's endorsement is expected as early
Meanwhile, Connell sits on the board of the Ballona Wetlands Foundation,
a group formed two years ago as part of the settlement ending a lawsuit
over the Playa Vista development. The Foundation board has four members,
all of them parties to the original lawsuit: Galanter, Playa Capital,
the Friends of Ballona, and the State Controller's Office.
A representative from Connell's office has attended two or three of the
monthly meetings, said Ruth Lansford, president of both the Friends of
Ballona and the Ballona Wetlands Foundation. That record, she said,
compares to the other three on the board: each has sent representatives
to every meeting.
"I have felt that (Connell) didn't really take that much interest,"
Lansford said. "I presume now that her interest has something to do with
running for mayor."
Environmentalists weigh in
Connell gets no criticism from the hard-core anti-Playa Vista
environmentalists -- those who favor zero development on the property
and total restoration of the Ballona Wetlands. To them, Connell is as
much a hero as Villaraigosa.
"This is the biggest thing to happen since DreamWorks pulled out of the
project," Sabrina Venskus, president of the Ballona Wetlands Land Trust,
said of Connell's refusal to extend the option deadline. "This is huge."
The next challenge could be the biggest one: convincing Connell to go
one step further and make sure the 73 acres is turned into a park.
Environmentalists, -- for that matter, Connell herself -- will need to
find a Sacramento lawmaker willing to introduce legislation formalizing
the park proposal. Playa Vista's property falls under the purview of
Bowen and Assemblyman George Nakano, D-Torrance, making them the most
Bowen said she is considering a bill to create a Playa Vista park.
However, she said, introducing a bill to revive last year's attempted
land swap deal between Playa Capital and the state is equally possible.
That leaves Connell.
"I think a park is one of the options we need to explore," she said.
"I've been supportive of park lands in the past."
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