Since The Times considers it fitting to allow ad hominem comment in the debate on the refurbishment of the Venice Boardwalk, I trust I will be given leave to reply in kind.
Mr. Abcarian (in his letter of April 21, 1994) is the one who ignores the truth. Hundreds of Venice residents did indeed spend four years of hard work in workshops and hearings to develop the draft Venice Urban Waterfront Restoration Plan and its sequel, the Venice Boardwalk Historic Refurbishment Plan, authored by the leading Venice civic organizations. Those who participated in scores of workshops--all open to the public--note that Mr. Abcarian did not deign to participate, but now wants to stop the process and dictate how the boardwalk area will be restored.
Mr. Abcarian is correct in quoting me as saying that I do not consider him and a band of outsiders led by Santa Monica resident Jerry Rubin to be serious opposition. It's hard to take seriously a few individuals who are four years late in the process, use intimidation and vitriolic personal attack as tactics, and who have never cared to extend any courtesy to those residents who in good faith put in their time to develop plans to solve the many chronic problems facing the boardwalk.
Instead of putting in the hours of study and meetings we did, Mr. Abcarian advances a plan that Jerry Rubin claims to be his, but which largely comes from our document with a few changes in numbers and conclusions. However, while ours is a master plan for the boardwalk built along a historical theme, his is a hodgepodge that would maintain unsafe restrooms, dangerous curves on the bike path, inadequate lighting and a toxic surface for the boardwalk that threatens the Santa Monica Bay with more petroleum runoff.
Finally, The Times proved my contention that outsiders are behind much of the noise about boardwalk refurbishment plans by publication of the letter that followed Mr. Abcarian's. It was a factually flawed discourse written by Mr. Alexander of Hawthorne repeating much of the same hysterical misinformation we have heard before. It does, though, raise an interesting question for Mr. Abcarian--where in Venice does one find the little burg of Hawthorne? Is it near Oakwood or the Oxford Triangle? Maybe it's so far out on the Venice Peninsula that I never noticed it.
\o7 Executive director Venice Boardwalk Assn.\f7