Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Coney Island, Venice Beach, Santa Monica Airport, And LA Rain

We flew down to LA right after the film festival ended and slept most of Monday. But I did get in a bike ride down to Venice beach. There was some sun, but mostly clouds.

There were some, but not too many, boardwalk vendors.  I'd been thinking about the Venice Boardwalk after seeing the film Coney Island:  Dreams for Sale at the festival.  It was about a developer who bought up a huge chunk of Coney Island real estate and was planning to build some big hotels and a mall.  Local folks rose up in protest, but were only modestly successful in their efforts to scale the development back.  The area wasn't zoned for large scale residential, but people in the film speculated that a hotel could and would be converted to condos eventually and the development would destroy the quirky kinds of shops and the unique community at Coney Island.

Venice Beach has, at least superficially, the same kind of quirky shops and community, and it's also right at a beach.  It doesn't have an amusement park, but there is a small one on the Santa Monica pier about a mile north.

The movie, which, by the way, was the runner up in the documentary category, got me thinking about whether the Venice Boardwalk was a likely target for developers like Coney Island and what protection there was for this strip along the beach.  I guess the people in the area need to be alert for people buying up property - making sure they aren't fronts for some giant developer.  This is one part of the southern California beach that is still wide open to anyone.

It also got me to thinking about what happened in the November election in Santa Monica where there were two ballot initiatives.  One, from the jet owners and airport interests to require a vote of the people of Santa Monica before the airport could be curtailed or closed down.  The other, in response, was to require a vote only if there were plans to develop the airport, but not to put in park or recreational activities.

It turns out the private jet and airplane folks' initiative (D) lost (58.8% to 42.8% and the park initiative (LC) won (60.2% to 39.8%.)  There were only 24,053 people who voted for Measure D and 500 more who voted for LC.  I'm not sure how many registered voters Santa Monica has, but in 2005 there were 60,000.

Over night it rained somewhat.  California still needs lots more rain to make up for the long period of drought and more is scheduled tonight.  Here's one of my mom's epidendrums after the rain - the red flower, not the leaf.  This is two pictures photoshopped together, with some playing around with the leaf.  But not too radically.

The epidendrums are tiny (about the size of a quarter) orchids that bloom in a bunch of ten or fifteen.

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