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Letters to the Editor:

Rosendahl To Coastal Commission

California Coastal Commission

Re: Appeal No. A-5-03-465

YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles

15601 Sunset Boulevard, Pacific Palisades

Dear Commissioners:

On Tuesday, August 9, 2005, you will consider the application of the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles to divide a 56.78-acre parcel of public parkland (part of Temescal Gateway Park, in Pacific Palisades) into two lots (3.95 & 52.83 acres). The land is located in the city of Los Angeles’ publicly owned lands Open Space Zone (not in the RE40-1-H zone, as stated in the notice of public hearing). The land division is to accommodate the transfer of the proposed 3.95-acre lot into the ownership of the YMCA. The YMCA’s coastal development permit application also seeks after-the-fact permission to continue annual sales of Christmas trees (December 1-25) and annual sales of Halloween pumpkins (October 15-31), and to operate a summer youth day camp.

Temescal Gateway Park is one of California’s natural treasures. Part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, this park is not only the most heavily used gateway to Topanga State Park (the largest park in the nation located entirely within a city), it is also a highly popular public park in its own right. When you first heard this matter in March, I wrote you to urge you to protect this invaluable public asset. Today, I strongly renew this request, and express my full support of the efforts of the Sierra Club, the Pacific Palisades Historical Society, the Pacific Palisades Residents Association, Friends of Temescal Canyon, No Oil, and countless residents of my district fighting to preserve the integrity of this historic public park.

I urge that either the application be denied, or, alternatively, if granted that such permit be subject to two further special conditions in perpetuity: 1) an open space deed restriction, and, 2) a prohibition of any entry upon the parcel for oil or gas drilling.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill Rosendahl

Councilman, 11th District

Ed. Note: The Commission did not respond to Rosendahl’s suggestions, but accepted its staff’s report and, basically, gave the YMCA what it wanted.

City Neglects Ocean Park

Honorable Mayor O’Connor and Council Members:

Ocean Park is probably Santa Monica’s most close-knit, community-oriented neighborhood. As many of you witnessed at our June BBQ at the Victorian (See Mirror story), where we had more than 700 people turn out, Ocean Park is a hub of engaged, civic-minded residents.

For the past year, OPA has been working on design solutions for the safety and aesthetic problems that plague the lower section of Ocean Park Boulevard. We have had numerous committee and board meetings, two community workshops and a public presentation on an Ocean Park Boulevard beautification and safety plan, all of which builds on two years of work undertaken by the city and residents in the mid-1990s.

While we have had a great deal of enthusiasm and support from residents and even several council members who reviewed the plans at our Victorian BBQ, we were very disappointed to have this project (and Ocean Park generally) left out in the last budget planning cycle.

The fact that no money was allocated for any aspect of the work on lower Ocean Park Boulevard is part of an unfortunate pattern of neglect for our neighborhood. When the city recently hosted a tour of capital improvement projects around the city, there was not a single stop in Ocean Park, one of the city’s most vibrant and heavily populated communities. We have watched beautification and safety improvements spread to major thoroughfares across Santa Monica. What about Ocean Park? It’s time for this pattern of neglect to change.

Over the past year, OPA has reached out many times to City staff and the City Council, asking you to cooperate with the community on this project that residents overwhelmingly support. So far, little has been done on your end to meet OPA and our community even halfway on this flagship issue.

We know that you all support Ocean Park and our community’s efforts to re-claim the eyesore and safety issue that is lower Ocean Park Boulevard. So we are now asking for guidance on how we can work with both City staff and the Council, over the next nine months, to ensure that Ocean Park does not once again get left out of the city’s budget next year.

Thank you for your service and support.

The Board of Directors of OPA, including:

Joel Brand, Tom Buchanan, Kristina Deutsch, Arlene Hopkins, Jeff Jarow, Susan Lewis, Lori Nafshun, Nicole Picard, Bob Taylor, Ted Winterer

Ocean Park Gazzette

OPA Membership

Getting Jesus Right…at Jewish expense

To the editor:

I agree completely with Paul Cummins that too many Americans do not know what Jesus preached and that what he preached was certainly inimical to much of the current foreign and domestic activities and priorities of this nation. But neither Bill McKibben or Shusaku Endo, whom Mr. Cummins cites, are scholarly Christian religious historians. This leads them and Mr. Cummins to praise Jesus at the expense of and neglect of the Jewish world from which he came.

The notion that Jesus was preaching a counter-theology to his fellow Jews (i.e. a religion of Love versus a religion of Law or a God of Love versus a God of Retribution), is no longer accepted by scholars. In the past few decades, research into the “Jewish Jesus” has helped yield the understanding of how influenced Jesus was by his time and that Judaism did not end with Jewish Scripture. Rather, Judaism continued to develop, especially under the leadership of the Pharisees, whose theology of compassion clearly informs Jesus’ teachings.

The Pharisees, for example, clearly uncomfortable with a literal interpretation of “an eye for an eye,” reinterpreted it to mean “the value of an eye for an eye.” They created such strict requirements concerning testimony in capital crimes cases, that capital punishment, mandated in the Jewish Scriptures, rarely occurred. They taught that we should not do to another what we did not want done to us. They taught, using parables, (long before Jesus was born), that God sides with the poor, with the widow and the orphan.

In short, Jesus’ preaching and teaching to his fellow Jews, as reported in the Synoptic Gospels, is consistent both with the style and content of the Pharisaic teachings of his time and do not represent a radical departure from the Jewish teachings of his age. His message of attending to the poor and the meek, of being among the peace-makers, is a vital one that desperately needs to be heard in our land. But it is no longer correct (or helpful) to set up Jewish Scripture as the “strawman” and the Jewish God as “vindictive,” to make the case for the importance of his message.

Rabbi Jeffrey A. MarxThe Santa Monica Synagogue

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