Ballona Wetlands

Tree Massacre at Oxford Lagoon

By Charlotte Purein

On December 31, 2014, 650 trees were sawed to the ground at the Oxford Lagoon.
The 94-space city parking lot that borders the Oxford Lagoon is slated as the building site for 114 units (none of them affordable), and 3600 sq. ft. of ground floor retail. The style is ‘Bernie Madoff meets Jersey Shore’, with a water (lagoon) view. The location of the tree massacre is to become a cement, rectangle sidewalk that will enclose the lagoon and serve as the defacto promenade to ‘Madoff Shores’. Its construction is slated to be financed by taxpayer money.
Marina del Rey’s state-certified land use plan requires tree-for-tree replacement. The 80-foot eucalyptus trees were planted in 1963 to attract wildlife, and they did: 51 bird species. They also grew to become L.A. county’s 6th largest monarch roosting site. Monarchs are much needed pollinators and may soon be on the endangered species list. The current plan is to replace those 52-year-old eucalyptus trees with 12-foot native plants that will provide less shade and much less wildlife habitat.
There is an inverse correlation between crime rate and number of trees in a community: the more trees, the less crime (http://bit.ly/1C8IjSj). The crime rate in MDR (242.1 per 10,000 persons, http://bit.ly/1uZ7Ht3) is currently higher than the crime rate in Venice (206.2 per 10,000 persons, http://bit.ly/1uZ7Ht3). Yet Councilperson Mike Bonin just wrote a public letter to Charlie Beck, LAPD Chief, asking for an increase of the police force in Venice. A more appropriate measure would have been to plant more trees (and cut none) in the Marina in order to address the higher-than-Venice crime rate in that area.
This rare wildlife gift was razed over the winter holidays without informing the public. Instead, the politicians and developers took advantage of the fact that the public was preoccupied and not paying attention. Some politicians must have gotten some serious extra holiday bonuses from some rich developers who plan on getting a whole lot richer as a result of this new development.
Even more trees in the Marina are ‘on the chopping block’ to make way for massive projects. Trees do a lot more than keep us happy. They are also nature’s high-tech air scrubbers. They filter the air. With all the new traffic that will be generated by the proposed colossal projects in MDR, we’re going to need a lot more trees to soak up particulates. Many more than the amount that were hacked down ‘at the midnight hour’.
Contact those responsible for the destruction to let them know how unhappy you are about the loss of trees and wildlife. Ask them to implement Marina del Rey’s land use plan by immediately replacing all of the 52-year-old eucalyptus trees with identical full-grown, 80-feet tall eucalyptus trees. LA county supervisors are ‘limited’ to three four-year terms. That’s a possible 12 years of terror. Let’s vote out all that reduce our quality of life as soon as possible.

Contact:
Tom Ford: TFord@santamonicabay.org, 310-216-9827
Don Knabe: 213-974-4444 (Steve Napolitano, staff: 310-222-3015)
Sheila Kuehl: 213-974-3333 (ask to speak to Maria Chong-Castillo – her constituents live nearby in Venice)
Mark Ridley-Thomas: 213-974-2222 (ask to speak to Karly Katona – his constituents live directly across the street)
Hilda Solis: 213-974-4111
Mike Antonovich: 213-974-5555Tree massacre2

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