Friday, June 3, 2022

We're heading to the Courtroom!

 


A Message from BEEP's President Rex Frankel:

About Our Lawsuit...

In 1985 I started fighting to save West LA's Ballona Wetlands, which I grew playing in. Since then we have doubled the size of the preserve, now 625 acres in public hands and another 100 acres of bluffs privately preserved and publicly accessible.

For the last 11 years, I have led educational hikes at Ballona Wetlands for the LA Hiking Meetup Group. My most recent hike at Ballona was April 9th: https://www.meetup.com/los-angeles-hiking-group/events/285089962/

In January of 2021, the Ballona wetlands advocacy group that I have run since 1993, called the Ballona Ecosystem Education Project, or BEEP, filed suit against the State of California which has owned the Ballona Wetlands since 2003. In December of 2020, the State bureaucracy approved a ten year bulldozing plan to allegedly “restore' this natural area to its former state before the area was colonized by European settlers. BEEP's lawsuit to overturn the ten year plan seeks a more community-friendly project.

BEEP needs tax-deductible donations to help pay our attorney and court costs. Please email me at rexfrankel@yahoo.com or text me at 310-738-0861 if you'd like to donate.


WHAT BEEP IS FIGHTING FOR:

Comparing the State Plan to BEEP's Plan

--DO WE REPAIR BALLONA IN 10 YEARS OR 1 YEAR?

--DO WE CONVERT IT INTO SOMETHING IT NEVER WAS? OR DO WE “RESTORE” IT ?

--SHOULD IT BE 1 HABITAT TYPE OR 3?

--SHOULD THE PUBLIC BE BLOCKED FROM HIKING TRAILS FOR TEN YEARS OR SHOULD THE TRAILS BE OPENED NOW?

--SHOULD IT COST $200 MILLION OR AN AFFORDABLE PRICE?

--MUST ALL WILDLIFE AND PLANTS AND ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES BE WIPED OUT

OR CAN WE JUST CLEAN UP TRASH, PULL WEEDS, DO MINOR PLUMBING REPAIRS, AND

ADD CLEAN FRESH WATER? 

 

The next court hearing is August 2nd at 1:30PM in Dept 85 at Downtown LA Superior Court. For the status of BEEP's Ballona lawsuit, search here: https://www.lacourt.org/casesummary/ui/ with this Case Number: 21STCV03657

see the 6th story in this blog post: https://playavistapeople.com/?fbclid=IwAR0zWkCwG-7cQWHDCMJz-M_bgCNmdbKK3W_BD4T7M6c4JKZPwUg1bs7sIsk

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VIDEOS AND OTHER INFO:

BEEP's Websites are:

http://ballona-news.blogspot.com/

http://saveallofballona.org

http://DontBulldozeBallona.com


Ballona is not so degraded to require a 10 year bulldozing remake, 11/10/2021

https://www.argonautnews.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/letters/article_cb24f0fc-d36f-51b0-ba30-857a598d164a.html

https://www.facebook.com/rex.frankel/posts/10227846249368664 11/11/2021


UCLA-USC STUDY CONTRADICTS BULLDOZER PLAN:

On the USC and UCLA scientists’ Ballona Historical Ecology Study, which concluded that a historically accurate restoration is the opposite of the State's plan.

https://www.facebook.com/rex.frankel/posts/10228160487504421


Need for industrial scale bulldozing plan is fake; 1/23/2022

SMMC board won't endorse Ballona bulldozing, 1/23/2018

https://www.facebook.com/rex.frankel/posts/10228274424152766


the issues in BEEP's lawsuit (5 min) 11/8/2017

https://youtu.be/Alf4YxM8R6Y

https://youtu.be/rRfBRG1OBZo same video with captions


government agencies systematically drying the Ballona Wetlands (4 min) Coastal Commission hearing 12/14/2017

https://youtu.be/RZx3ZfSePeA


5/08/2019 Coastal Commission hearing on Ballona restoration (see 40:10, need for historically accurate restoration plan)

https://youtu.be/obbl-VxFuKE


10/18/2017 to Sierra Club (EDIT) BEEP's President explaining why the Ballona bulldozing project is not a restoration (3 min.)

https://youtu.be/qu4GBSPMR2s

10/18/2017 full Sierra Club presentation (58 min, 0-29 speech, 29-58 audience questions)

https://youtu.be/l1g_ZPa77AE


OTHER ISSUES:


BEEP's website on Native plants of the Ballona Wetlands, is linked to Google image search, so you can ID what you see, or even better, choose plants for your garden that make it a haven for local wildlife

http://ballonaplants.blogspot.com/


https://www.facebook.com/rex.frankel/posts/10228578171066249

proposed Ballona bluffs donation to BEEP, 3/18/2022


Saturday, January 18, 2020

We support finding "common ground" on Ballona's Future: Let's all talk, not just Bureaucrats in a Locked Room...

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-01-16/activists-cant-stop-fighting-over-ballona-wetland

https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2019-12-23/ballona-wetlands-restoration-plan-conservationists-split

--------------------------------

To the Editor, LA Times:

In welcoming bulldozers to Ballona, Jon Christensen (LA Times, 1/16) prioritizes recreation and economic benefit for our human species, while downplaying the damage to what remains of the natural ecosystem.

Massive reconfiguration of the human-degraded landscape might yield bicycle paths, but would that be "restoration"?  Or should we pursue the less intrusive path toward wetlands recovery, "just add water"?

Serious decisions must be made about the recently released Environmental Impact Report, and it's a mistake to dismiss dissident voices.

—Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown serves on the state's Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Dealing the Bay Away & Not Reading Their Own Scientists' Reports

...So Why Is Heal The Bay the Loudest Proponent of removing the levees and "watering" our Ballona Wetlands with polluted urban runoff from Ballona Creek...

from: 1/2/2020 Argonaut Newspaper
https://argonautnews.com/l-a-is-losing-the-battle-against-urban-runoff/
"At the current rate of progress, the Marina del Rey watershed would need more than 28 centuries to meet next year’s EPA target...

...Marina del Rey’s watershed management program, which includes parts of Venice and Culver City, has reached just one fifth of 1% (0.21%) of its EPA target for the year 2021, achieving 1.41 acre feet of additional stormwater retention capacity since December 2012 out of a target of 671.69 acre feet — and that’s including flood control upgrades to Oxford Basin Lagoon. “If the current rate of implementation continues, the final 2021 goal will be achieved in the year 4877,”

and From
https://healthebay.org/stormwater-report/
https://healthebay.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Stormwater-Report-FINAL.pdf

page 8:
The Ballona Creek Watershed Management Group: As of December 2018, the Ballona Creek Watershed Management Group achieved a retention capacity of 74.58 AF since 12/28/12, which was 3.58% complete towards the 2021 final retention capacity goal of 2,081 AF (Table 1 and Figure 2). This group was out of compliance with its 2016 deadline. There remained a retention capacity of 1,061.42 AF to be achieved by the 2019 interim deadline and a total retention capacity of 2,006.42 AF to be achieved by the 2021 final deadline. If the current rate of implementation continues, the final 2021 goal will be achieved in the year 2180

----------------------------------------

(THINK FLOODING BALLONA WITH POLLUTED WATER IS A BAD IDEA, READ THIS: OUR PLAN: PAGE 7 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_77mAmDMAkGdEAFurhc8sLzarePIcMMi/view):

the 1-year-to-success plan: 
HIGHLIGHTS: BEEP's Proposal features 3 parallel creek channels to restore the historical “delta” geography: the existing channel in the middle for floods, tsunamis and pollution; and 2 new smaller shallow outside channels for clean habitat. The existing Ballona Creek levees will remain where they are, protecting the wetlands north and south of the creek from polluted urban street drainage. 
 

The wetlands and higher ground on each side of the existing Ballona Creek levees will be re-watered
with clean water from the Ballona Creek dry season treatment plants in Culver City (subject of an EIR last fall, construction expected in 2020); water will flow by gravity from the 3 upstream plants via a pipe on each creek levee to the restored parallel creeks. 
 

Also, on the south side of Ballona Creek, non-contaminated groundwater pumped from underneath buildings in the Playa Vista development and sent to L.A.'s Hyperion sewage treatment plant or dumped into Ballona Creek and the ocean (pumped to keep buildings from sinking) will instead be piped into currently-dry wetlands west of Lincoln Blvd. The wetlands habitat of 200 years ago will then largely restore itself. 

As we have seen several times at Ballona in our work since 1985, when we add freshwater, remove trash and concrete and and leave the rest alone, nature will restore Ballona for us.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Not O-Kay

Why is a Top Southern California Edison Wetlands Manager Spreading Baloney about the Ballona Wetlands?


Did you know that "4 million cubic yards of construction waste" was dumped all over the Ballona Wetlands in the 1950's, necessitating now a massive 9 year project to haul all that "waste" away?

You don't know it, in fact, because it did not happen.



ACTUALLY.....
"Marina Construction Waste" was NOT dumped on the Ballona Wetlands, as Mr. Kay claims in the 9/20/2018 Marina Del Rey Argonaut. 

Clean healthy wetland mud, full of life, was moved around in the late 1950's in order to dig a giant hole in the Ballona floodplain for a middle class boat harbor. Some of this clean mud was piled higher than it used to be and was cut off from the natural freshwater of Ballona Creek in some cases. But that is not construction waste as most of us understand it, meaning concrete, steel, plaster, wood and stucco chunks like we see in the many construction waste dumpsters that dot our community from development projects.

Don't fall for the "alternative facts" being spread by those in the wetland bulldozing industry like Mr Kay, a wetland "re-creation" manager for Southern California Edison Company which has been eyeing Ballona as a site for it to compensate for its power plants' harm to sea life by turning our home for frogs, lizards, rabbits, sagebrush and birds into an arm of the ocean (like the habitats Edison damages) .  (See excerpt BELOW from Ballona Wetlands/Playa Vista Development Coastal Commission Staff Report from 1991 detaining Edison's plans)



Some misguided State bureaucrats have since 2008 been pushing the now-debunked proposal to turn the freshwater delta of the Ballona wetlands into an unnatural deep hole flooded by saltwater. This has been contradicted by peer-reviewed science put together by scientists at USC and UCLA, titled the Ballona Historical Ecology Study. The debunked proposal has at its heart the goal of sucking up $200 million in tax dollars to use hundreds of bulldozers to convert the Ballona freshwater creek system into a below sea level arm of the ocean, killing most of the life that now lives at the wetlands. Greatly enriched would be insiders and construction firms that would excavate the wetlands over a 9 year period. This is completely unnecessary as the State is currently the co-operator of the Ballona wetlands freshwater marsh at Playa Vista, the first restoration project at the Ballona Wetlands created on 5% of the state-owned preserve in 2002, which is watered with groundwater pumped to the surface and piped to the east end of the Playa Vista "riparian corridor" creek system, which then flows under Lincoln Blvd into the "Freshwater Marsh at Playa Vista".

The City of Los Angeles is planning right now to build three Ballona Creek water cleansing plants which will make possible allowing Ballona Creek water to flow once again into the rest of the Ballona Wetlands. (The water in the creek now is quite dirty) These water treatment plants will be 50 feet higher in elevation than the slightly higher than normal wetland mud piles near Lincoln Blvd. Thus, with piping and creek flapgates of the type similar to that used at Playa Vista's creek and marsh system, we could restore the natural historically-accurate freshwater creek wildlife habitats at the rest of our State's Ballona Wetlands without the need to bulldoze it for 9 years and waste hundreds of millions of our tax dollars on a non-restoration industrial-scale enrichment program for construction firms disguised as a wildlife habitat re-creation. We have a choice here.: Unnaturally bulldoze and kill the Ballona Wetlands for 9 years to benefit Edison and construction firms and turn it into what it never was. Or return clean water to the wetlands now, restoring willow groves and sagebrush habitats for native wildlife that is now there, avoiding defiling 9 Tongva archeological sites, and saving hundreds of millions of our money.


Rex Frankel, Director, Ballona Ecosystem Education Project,

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

2/22/2018

Bureaucrats Want to Speed Up Sea Level Rise's Harm to the Ballona Wetlands: 
Why the "un-natural" levees along the creek are actually good for the Wetlands

re:
"California's Salt marshes will vanish in less than a century if seas keep rising..., study finds"
http://www.latimes.com/…/la-me-salt-marsh-climate-change-20…
http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/2/eaao3270.full

Dear Editor, LA Times

LA's 600 acre State-owned Ballona Wetlands currently sit safely protected behind the levees of Ballona Creek. Un-natural as they are, the levees keep the rising sea from drowning out the homes for thousands of rare animals. Our State's engineers say the levees are adequate to continue protecting the wetlands at least until the year 2100. The levees also keep polluted upstream urban drainage in the creek from pouring into the fragile homes for wildlife.

So why is the California State Wildlife department pursuing an alleged "restoration" plan, which they admit is mostly not a restoration at all, to demolish these already-paid-for wetland protectors and submerge Ballona under the sea? Why do they want to spend $182 million or more to bulldoze Ballona and scrape it bare for years? Ballona is a fragile and biodiverse ecosystem that is now and was historically full of wildflowers, butterfly habitat, lizard-hideaways, freshwater ponds and muddy salt marshes. Why do state bureaucrats want to turn Ballona into exclusively an arm of the ocean, a biological mono-culture which your article and the new study warn against?

Construction and engineering firms may benefit from this boondoggle. Not the public. Alternative proposals that would actually restore the wetlands and preserve its biodiversity at a fraction of the cost were summarily rejected by the state bureaucracy. Google the Ballona Wetlands Restoration Plan and read about the rejected Alternatives 10 and 11. There is still time to change the bureaucrats' minds.

Even the loudest two supporters of the state's bulldozing plan have rejected the bureaucrats' plans for the wetlands south of Ballona Creek. And the Coastal Commission, which is one of two state agencies that must approve any plan for it to happen, is similarly skeptical. So, behind the scenes, the state plan has big problems.

Rex Frankel
President and Legal Director
Ballona Ecosystem Education Project
http://saveallofballona.org
THIS BALLONA NEWSPAGE IS THE PROPERTY OF Ballona Ecosystem Education Project, (BEEP), a project of MOUNT REXMORE PROGRESSIVE RESOURCE CENTER, A CALIFORNIA NON-PROFIT CORPORATION, AND IT IS SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS CONTENT. FOR BEEP'S MAIN WEBSITE, CLICK HERE: SaveAllofBallona.org

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