In its coverage of the proposed luxury hotel on the Santa Monica beach (Westside, July 15), The Times has placed too much emphasis on personalities and not enough on the public policy dispute.
The first issue is the impact of private development on the public environment. Building a $300-a-night hotel on public parkland is a bad idea. Nearly 50% of California's beaches are in private hands already.
This non-essential project will generate 3,000 more vehicle trips per day on the already-choked Pacific Coast Highway. It will pollute the air with construction dust in excess of allowable levels for two years. It will increase the sewage flow from 11,000 to 25,000 gallons per day on a sewage system already past its limit. Water usage will increase from 24,000 to 45,000 gallons per day while the rest of us are trying to conserve.
The second issue is whether we should exploit a finite environmental resource to generate revenue for social programs. The hotel purports to provide "public access," mainly through a community center, showers, a restaurant and a sculpture garden--token gestures to buy support for the luxury purposes.