Both the article (Times, Aug. 21) and the letter from Arnold Springer (Times, Sept. 1) regarding the controversy over extension of the bike path through the Marina Peninsula failed to mention one important element: the California Least Tern.
The Marina Peninsula contains a major nesting site for this bird, now on the Endangered Species List. Why is it on the list? Because it must nest on open sand beaches, and there are very few left not teeming with people during the summer, its nesting season. Because the Marina Peninsula lacks access, and therefore is not crowded even at the height of summer, the terns have found a protected spot to nest and hatch their young.
As chairman of Friends of Ballona Wetlands, I am primarily concerned about the preservation of the last major wetland in Los Angeles County. Part of that concern is the protection of the wildlife, which use and inhabit the wetland. It's been gratifying to see the slow but definite increase in Least Tern population because they finally have found a beach in Los Angeles that is isolated enough to protect them during their vulnerable nesting season.
Let me make it clear that our organization is grateful for the consistent support the Venice Town Council and Arnold Springer, personally, have given us in our fight to save Ballona. I also generally support Springer's stance promoting more beach access, and I deplore the attitude that public beaches are private enclaves for those wealthy enough to live there. Living at the beach myself (in Playa del Rey, not the Marina Peninsula), I long ago reconciled myself to the fact that I live next to a public playground. I have noise, litter, people parking in my driveway, beach-cleaning machines roaring by at 6 o'clock in the morning. But I also have a front yard that's one of the world's wonders, so it's worth the price. Because that yard is public, it belongs to anyone who wants to use it, and all are welcome.