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Playing Mother Nature in the Ballona Wetlands

June 10, 2004

"City Is Losing a Part of Its Soul in Playa Vista" (Commentary, June 7) stated that environmentalists "are understandably grateful for a little more wetland, and grow silent when it comes to fighting on behalf of the Indians' cultural claims." In fact, the Ballona Wetlands Land Trust has sought to protect and restore the entire Ballona ecosystem to its natural, functioning form and to protect Native American burial sites since 1994. For the record, this organization does not support the developer's man-made creek across a Native American burial site. The reason the land trust has not spoken out more loudly on cultural issues is fear of Native Americans seeing this type of behavior as opportunism.

Just because the developers propose to run water through an area does not mean we will support the idea. Once again, attempting to play Mother Nature has gotten the Playa Vista developers into trouble. On July 8 (at 8:30 a.m., in City Hall), Angelenos can push public officials to redeem themselves and force developers to do the right thing for the Native Americans and the ecosystem when phase two of the Playa Vista project comes before the Planning Commission. For more information, go to www.ballona.org.

Paul Herzog

Ballona Wetlands Land Trust

Playa del Rey

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