The Daily Breeze again gives me a topic. Rancho Palos Verdes is one of the wealthy communities just up the hill from where I live. Apparently the possibility that Marines might conduct live-fire training on an abandoned theme park there…as they have done many times in the past…is just too anxiety-provoking for them to deal with.
Even though they would have notice of the multiple-day ‘window’ during which the Corps would be conducting the training, the City leadership feel that the residents will be unnerved ‘at this times of a possible war with Iraq and the potential for terrorism.’
So the real solution – well-trained Marines – can’t be used, because the symbolic solution – not disturbing these little babies in their sleep – seems like a better idea.
Someone needs to rent a clue.
Folks, that’s the sound of freedom.
Camp Pendleton Marines have been denied permission to conduct night training exercises in June at the defunct Marineland theme park, but Rancho Palos Verdes officials say it’s a lack of disclosure – not patriotism – that is prompting the move.
“I think the city and our citizens can see the need for that kind of exercise, but what I find it hard to understand is why we can’t tell people in advance that it’s going to happen,” City Manager Les Evans said. “Everybody has to know what’s going on down there.”
Marines have used the vacant 102-acre Long Point property – which boasts dilapidated buildings ideal for urban warfare training, an isolated beach to practice landings on and towering cliffs – as many as four times a year over the past five years.
But Evans said the Marine Corps is less than forthcoming about when its training exercises will occur.
Consequently, residents are often startled by the clattering of large helicopters coming in off the ocean and gunfire and loud explosions emanating from Long Point in the middle of the night. In the past, city officials – and, on occasion, council members – have been left to field telephone calls from angry or scared residents demanding to know what’s going on.
With people unnerved by a possible war in Iraq and the potential for terrorism, Evans said it’s more important than ever that residents are kept abreast of such activities.
[Update: Check out the comments for an email response from City Manager Les Evans. I’m unimpressed, to quote:“Thanks to the misleading caption “Permission for Training Denied” and the emphasis on denial rather than the “notification to residents” issues…” (emphasis mine) Um, Les, you denied or you didn’t. The issue wasn’t “City Manager Requests Assistance with Notification,” it was that the City Manager denied the request, and then offered to reconsider if notification issues could be resolved.]
This time around, the First Marine Expeditionary Force was seeking to train at Long Point sometime between June 15 and 18, Evans said. He said an FBI agent who heads up the local Special Weapons Team and who contacted him about the exercise initially indicated the Marines may go ahead with it anyway since they have the property owner’s permission.
In case you have some concrete suggestions about this, here are some people to contact:
Douglas W. Stern – Mayor
Barbara Ferraro – Mayor Pro Tem
Larry Clark – Councilmember
John McTaggart – Councilmember
Peter C. Gardiner – Councilmember
Office of the City Manager
Les Evans, City Manager
Carolynn Petru, Asst. City Manager
phone: (310) 544-5205
fax: (310) 544-5291