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Letters to the Editor:

The Landmarks Commission has two chances to do the right thing.

On December 10, 2007 it will review a proposed new building at 2642 Second Street in the Third Street Neighborhood Historic District.

On January 14, 2008 it will review a proposed new building at 2617 Third Street among the iconic bungalows in the heart of the District.

Neither building is harmonious with the turn-of-the-century character of this old Santa Monica beach neighborhood. Both 2642 Second and 2617 Third Street violate the Historic District Design Guidelines. The contemporary massing, shape, style, and rooflines of both buildings are visually at odds with and damage a pedestrian’s experience of an old beach neighborhood of bungalows and Victorians.

Both 2642 Second and 2617 Third are large, tall, rectilinear boxes with flat roofs which would fit perfectly in Manhattan Beach, even in other Santa Monica neighborhoods. They do not belong in the Historic District.

For years, lovers of Santa Monica have bemoaned our loss of the town’s early beach character. We have been dismayed by its rapid descent into ordinary ostentation as developers, flippers, commercial interests, and status-conscious residents have destroyed old neighborhoods one building at a time.

In 1990, fans of Santa Monica’s history won a small victory when the City created the Third Street Neighborhood Historic District. The City made a compact with the neighbors there and with all City residents to set aside and protect the character of just two small blocks out of 8.2 square miles of the City. The deal was to preserve a sense of time and place which everyone could remember and enjoy in the future.

Now the City must honor that compact and do the right thing. It should strictly apply and enforce the District Design Guidelines and deny the proposed projects at 2642 Second and 2617 Third Street. It must send a clear message to developers, flippers, and property owners who don’t care about our City’s fabled history that the Historic District is not just a collection of desirable building sites a few blocks from the beach. It is one of the last places, if not the last place, in Santa Monica where the early history of our City matters and is worth preserving through the integrity of its architecture, old and new.

Bea Nemlaha

Resident of Third Street Neighborhood Historic District

* * * *

In an increasingly polluted world, it is becoming harder and harder to avoid exposure to toxins in our environment. Fluoride may prevent dental caries when applied topically, but it is toxic when ingested. The city of Natick, Massachusetts came to this conclusion after extended analysis of information on the subject. For more information go to http://ddtw.org/Natick/natick_summ.doc.

Many Santa Monicans are upset at the recent addition of fluoride to our drinking water. Unfortunately for those of us who do not wish to ingest fluoride, there is no easy way to avoid it. The sophisticated water filtration systems that remove chlorine and bacteria do not remove fluoride. Only reverse osmosis will do that, but reverse osmosis wastes several gallons of water for every gallon of fluoride-free water it produces, a no-no in drought-stricken Southern California. Reverse osmosis also removes all the minerals that are nourishing to the body. The alternative is fluoride-free mountain spring bottled water…but then one is contributing to global warming because of all the energy used in bottling and shipping, not to mention the cost of bottled water. Santa Monica’s goal of sustainability is thus heavily undermined by the City’s decision to fluoridate its water.

My neighbor gave birth on Friday and is currently in Santa Monica Hospital with her newborn son.

This little baby is being given bottles by the nurses to supplement his mother’s milk, and I worry that the formula is being mixed with fluoridated tap water. I hope not, but undoubtedly his mother is being exposed to fluoride that will eventually find its way into his tiny body. For everybody’s sake, young and old, I would like to see the City revisit its decision on fluoride. If it is felt that everyone should have access to fluoridated toothpaste, why not give out vouchers to those who can’t afford it for their children, and let the rest of us choose for ourselves whether we want it.


Karen Blechman

Santa Monica

in Uncategorized
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