April 16, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Publisher’s Notebook:

I hear the Santa Monica City Forester has another reason why the new design plans for 2nd and 4th Streets require the cutting of some ficus trees: there is not enough light coming through to the street. The street needs warmth. That is a fresh point of view. Well, at least we are getting closer to the real reason they want to cut. The disease reason can now be retired. There is no question that if the powers that be want sunnier 2nd and 4th Streets then the mature ficus forest will be cut. Of course if you want beautiful, healthier, greener, and cooler streets – not to mention the ability to cover up some awfully ugly parking structures and a whole lot of traffic – then I suggest embracing these trees and allowing them to thrive. I noticed two ficuses at Izzy’s the other day. That is how an establishment should keep its trees. They bricked in the area and have made it an inviting, clean, and environmentally friendly entry. The trees have been pruned properly and appear quite healthy. My hat is off to the city and the owners on a job well done. There is obviously a very serious lesson learned at that location that can be transferred to our other ficus forests.

By the way, I am not new to the ficus hunt in this city. When we first began publishing (at the turn of the century!), the city was just beginning to eradicate an incredible ficus forest between Nielson Way and Main Street. For more parking. The trees that replaced them, though I am sure are very nice to some, are a very poor replacement. Compare them with the few remaining ficuses and you will see the difference. The problem there could easily have been solved had the city cooperated with the merchants and allowed people to use parking spots on the beach that often, in off-season, went unused.

Next up was the decree to cut down trees in a residential neighborhood, but that really caused a ruckus. The city put a “moratorium” on the cut after the neighbors went ballistic, but they never returned to do the job, and it has been several years now so maybe that danger is gone. Last year, of course, the city got its way when it slaughtered a beautiful eucalyptus grove that was deemed dangerous, yet according to statistics no one was ever injured by one. In fact, more people die in this country from toaster accidents than eucalyptus tree harm. Toasters also kill more than sharks, fyi.

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I am curious as to how the situation at the Airport is going to work itself out. I am sympathetic with neighbors in Santa Monica and Mar Vista who have had to endure more use than most people had projected and imagined. I also have nothing against the super-rich who want to fly their planes out of this very convenient location. My brother-in-law had a small private plane that we flew out of SM on a number of occasions. That little two-engine, four-seater plane didn’t cause trouble, and seems to be the type of aircraft the neighbors can tolerate.

First thing is to get the noise and pollution tests done so everyone is speaking with facts. Let’s consider what size plane is truly appropriate for the Airport; perhaps some of the larger corporate jets are just not a fit. Next would be to offer practical solutions for routing some of these jet flights elsewhere. With Bill Rosendahl in charge of LAX and being a Mar Vista resident who lives near the flight path of the SM Airport, he will keep the pressure on and perhaps open up some other venues. Van Nuys is a natural, as is Torrance, but the FAA has an agreement with the city until 2015 so don’t expect anything quick to happen. After that it will be anyone’s guess what will happen. Put your vote in now!

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It is a sad state of affairs that we consider our success in Iraq by the reduction of body bags on a monthly basis instead of on diplomatic success that can help ensure long-term peace. I am happy to see less people being killed and more people returning to their homes. Iraq has tremendous national potential, and with the world’s second largest petroleum reserves it has the resources to help meet that potential. Prior to the war it was a mostly secularized country and women were treated better than in most Arab countries. No question it was a miserable dictatorship ruled by an evil, despotic, war-mongering, now dead, dictator. With that episode behind them, the Iraqis now have a chance to step into the limelight and integrate with the rest of the world. And now the U.S. is signing agreements to ensure we stay for a long time, penning deals on business, politics, and defense. This will make it far more difficult for any future presidents to rescind and move out. It does not mean we are prohibited, however, from moving our troops over the horizon and off the streets of Iraq where the Iraqis must take over. I hope and wish for the best for all concerned, both the Iraqis and U.S. troops and their families. Sooner rather then later.

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Fluoridating Santa Monica’s water supply was a controversial matter. I was not in favor of it for the simple reason of why add it to everyone’s supply when people who want it can add it and people who don’t aren’t forced to ingest it. With the water problems we have had with the Charnock Wells being polluted, you think we would be super careful not to put stuff INTO the water again. Especially if what I read was correct, that we are using some type of industrial brand that may exacerbate problems. I am not a scientist and cannot determine the truth behind those claims.

The battle to prevent it appears to be lost, so I sought some advice.

My Australian oncologist said, “When we did it in our township we had 50 percent less holes in our teeth.”

A famed acupuncturist here in Santa Monica said, “The original reason for fluoridation was to prevent tooth decay. But now evidence suggests many harms outweigh the purported benefits. In fact, the American Dental Association does not recommend fluoridated water for babies!”

Some evidence suggests that excess fluoridation can cause a rare bone cancer and many other potential health problems. Proponents of fluoridation cite studies on increasing bone density that are essential for the health of children, women, and the elderly. Why then, with fluoridation being commonplace, do we have such problems with osteoporosis? Interesting stuff.

My suggestion to those who are concerned is to filter their tap water so that both fluoride and chlorine, as well as other impurities, are taken out.

Also check out this website with pretty credible information on the subject, http://fluoridealert.org/fluoride-facts.htm.

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Please note our online service allows people to comment directly and immediately to every story we have on the service. The last few weeks have been particularly active, with many people complaining that I called some of Ron Paul’s beliefs “crackpot.” While I did not call him a crackpot, I did say eliminating the Department of Education was a bad idea, even a crackpot one. I say beef up the Department and get it right. We do not print the online letters in the print version of the paper, however, if you wish us to do so just make note of it in your comments.

Looking forward to seeing my kid ice skate on 5th Street, and seeing all the new Christmas lights. Happy holidays, everyone.

Michael Rosenthal


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