November 1, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Letters to the Editor:

On Saturday, November 10, our 60-year-old friend, a veteran of the waves since childhood, Joel Fishman, was surfing just south of the Santa Monica Pier. He wiped out at one point and two brothers on the beach, Eric and Justin Crown, noticed he was not moving and appeared unconscious face down in the water. They quickly went to him and carefully brought him out of the ocean. A lifeguard from the nearby Central Station administered CPR and Joel was transferred to UCLA Emergency. He had fractured and dislocated two of the bones in his neck. He was in traction on Saturday, but the loss of movement required surgery on Sunday. Joel’s family and friends would like to express their deep gratitude to the Crown brothers and the lifeguard whose initial aid saved his life. The doctors and nurses at UCLA have been amazing, and despite the long recovery ahead for Joel, the prognosis is good and he feels lucky to be alive. Life can change in a fleeting moment…we feel blessed that strangers took such care to keep Joel with us. Thank you!

The Joel Fishman family and friends

* * * *

When, in 1999, our city dedicated a new Veteran’s Memorial atop Palisades Park, it was deliberately configured for shadows to line up annually at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. We anticipated that our community would gather at that moment each year to solemnly commemorate Veterans Day.

This Veterans Day, in the incipient drizzle of a gray Sunday, I was there as I have been almost every year. Wreaths were laid and words were shared by Veterans for Peace, the only group that seemed to recall the memorial or its purpose, to remember with honor those who have served us in war.

We are almost five years and 4,000 American military deaths into a war we did not foresee when, hopeful for peace, we dedicated our Palisades Park veterans’ site. How inspiring that the Veterans for Peace, weary from setting up their Arlington West memorial each day this holiday weekend, took the time to climb the hill and mark the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

With the startling new statistic that fully a quarter of the homeless in our country are veterans, with veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan coming home dazed and wounded, with the possibility of new war in Iran, is it the eleventh hour for us all?

Kevin McKeown

Santa Monica City Council

* * * *

Some Page 1 “Strike Back” that was from a “WGA member.”

The Empire shrugs.

Your writer was too chicken to put his/her name on it!

Although I have my doubts it was really a writer at all, after reading: “One of them offered me a pen so I could jot down…”

What real writer wouldn’t carry a writing implement?

A tool for the other side, maybe?

P.S. Loved the editorial cartoon about the library. Keep up those great color panels from Mike Thompson of the Detroit Free Press!

Sincerely (not paranoid),

Henry Rosenfeld

Santa Monica

Editor’s Note: We assure Mr. Rosenfeld that “WGA Strikes Back” was indeed penned by a member of the WGA.

* * * *

In 10 days I go to trial on three absurd violations for playing music on the Third Street Promenade in the City of Santa Monica. 1) Playing too loud. 2) Playing five feet beyond the authorized zone. 3) Refusing to submit to a sound measurement.

I moved to Santa Monica in 1999. At that time, there were no regulations on street performers. No one ever complained about me. In fact, I used to play in front of Charley Temmel’s ice cream parlor because the manager liked me, would give me all the ice cream I wanted for free.

Shortly after 1999, the City Council passed street performers regulations, which I think are unconstitutional. The penalties are based on traffic fines passed by the California Legislature. In other words, when you’re convicted of playing music too loud a hefty fine is imposed which does not reflect the crime of playing music, but a fine which should be imposed for drunk driving. Consequently, when performers are given tickets, we’re treated like criminals.

Why can’t the City Council pass rules which don’t make playing music criminal? Or why can’t the officers just ask the offender to leave instead of making the performer feel like a criminal with up to seven officers called in to make the arrest and to write the ticket. This is highly humiliating and embarrassing in front of hundreds of people and scares the kids to see all those officers around.

Everyone knows, including Eddie Greenberg and his crew, that I’m the only performer who plays music for the kids. Also, I’m the only performer, I think, who actually talks with the tourists and welcomes them to Santa Monica. People who have worked with me say I should be paid for being an ambassador for Santa Monica.

I love Santa Monica. I’ve composed and recorded three tunes for Santa Monica which have made the charts: “Sunday Morning Santa Monica,” “Santa Monica Moon,” and “The Grandeur of Santa Monica.”

Sincerely,

Wen Mew

Santa Monica

* * * *

As a recent visitor from Sydney, Australia to Santa Monica I was pleasantly surprised to hear someone playing the soprano saxophone so beautifully on the Third Street Promenade.

Wen Mew, in addition to playing really well (my qualifications are that I have been a professional musician for over 50 years), was also happy to talk to my wife and myself for over 20 minutes about music, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, whatever. The City of Santa Monica is fortunate to have Wen Mew – the city could not wish for a better ambassador for the area and he should be encouraged not prosecuted.

Regards,

Allan Nash

Sydney, Australia

* * * *

I am a former resident of Santa Monica. As one of many, I enjoy the music and good cheer that Mr. Wen Mew brings to the Third Street Promenade.

The acts that perform at the Promenade range from weekend amateurs to polished professionals. I think Santa Monica is fortunate to have a seasoned professional such as Wen share his talent with us. Wen is particularly generous to the children who stop to listen to him play.

At just nine months old, my son Matthew was given a drumstick and encouraged to play along with Wen. As it turns out, my son (now nine years old) has a great aptitude for music and has been studying the drums for almost two years. Just last month Wen had invited Matthew back for a reunion concert. It was quite a thrill, and a great learning experience for him.

Wen is a Santa Monica treasure. It is my hope that the current issues regarding Wen’s performance can be resolved so that we can all be assured of enjoying his presence in Santa Monica for years to come.

Sincerely,

Scott Zone

Calabasas

* * * *

“Chewing Over New Tobacco Products”

The above-referenced article appearing in the current edition [November 1-7] of the Santa Monica Mirror is in error regarding the citation of the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park and claim that Philip Morris USA has “named” their new Center for Research and Technology the “Virginia Biotechnology Research Park” in an effort to somehow obscure or misdirect attention regarding the research that they will be engaged in.

While the writer is certainly entitled to his opinions about any subject, it is assumed that he should make some small effort to ensure factual accuracy. “Google” has made even the most rudimentary ability to carry out some level of fact check a reality for most all capable of using a computer.

The Virginia Biotechnology Research Park is Virginia’s premier biosciences research center, located in Richmond. Twelve years after opening, it is today a dynamic center for biotechnology and biosciences research with over 57 entities ranging from start-up and early stage companies, to multinational corporations, nonprofits, research institutes, and government labs. Today the Park represents a capital investment of over $525 million; nine buildings encompassing over 1.1 million square feet of space and a center of employment for over 2,000 scientists, engineers, and technicians.

Philip Morris USA announced in May 2005 that they would build the Center for Research and Technology in the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park, consolidating basic scientific research from a number of sites in the US and Europe. This $350 million facility (Biotech Nine in keeping with the designation of buildings in the Park) is a welcome addition to the range and variety of companies and research labs, institutes, and centers located here. PMUSA will be bringing over 500 scientific personnel to the Park to work in their new center.

While many individuals, like the writer, may have strong opinions about the tobacco industry, this new center may also lead to discoveries that will not only potentially reduce the harm from tobacco products, but may also be helpful in finding cures for, and diagnosing those diseases frequently associated with tobacco at earlier stages. Philip Morris USA is a tremendous corporate citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia and we are pleased that they decided to locate this major scientific research center in the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park.

Sincerely,

Robert T. Skunda

President and Chief Executive Officer

Steve Stajich responds:

The gentlemen is technically correct. My information came from a news photo of a sign, said sign clearly intending to associate Philip Morris with advanced science. However, he only underscores my points by clarifying that the Philip Morris Center for Research and Technology is located in “Virginia’s premier biosciences research center,” thus highlighting the obfuscating language and subterfuge deployed by the tobacco industry.

* * * *

Some readers may be vaguely aware that the Metropolitan Water District has begun implementing plans to fluoridate the water of their 18 million customers in Southern California. Santa Monica’s water supply will begin the fluoridation process on November 19.

Most readers, however, are completely unaware of the source of the fluoride being used. It is not a pharmaceutical-grade chemical developed in a laboratory; it is hydrofluorosilicic acid taken directly from the pollution scrubbers of a phosphate fertilizer plant in Florida.

Hydrofluorosilicic acid is an industrial-grade hazardous waste that ranks between lead and arsenic in toxicity. Adding any amount at all to the state’s and to the rest of our nation’s water supply is not only hazardous to our health, but also to our democratic process and our supposed freedom of choice.

Shirra Leavitt

Santa Monica

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