LA Independent Letters to Editor, January 3, 2001.
To the editor:
In "Mandeville Canyon to become latest battleground in mountain bike war"
(Dec. 13), Lisa Gritzner is quoted as saying that mountain biking has been
going on at Mandeville Canyon legally and without incident for many years.
She is either unaware of the frequency of emergency vehicles accessing this
area on Mandeville Canyon and Westridge roads, responding to mountain biking
injuries, or is ignoring relevant information which has been sent to the
Parks Commission and the councilwoman's office. A wealth of public
information that demonstrates the failure of mountain bike "shared use" in
the Santa Monica Mountains is in the files of county, state, and federal park
entities for this area. The grass-roots Coalition for Safe Trails easily
obtained those records. Surely a councilperson's office could.
The Proposition K document for acquisition of the Mandeville property, much
of which seems as though it was written by CORBA, can easily be read as
implying that the only way to introduce inner-city youth to nature is on the
seat of a bicycle. Certainly, it does not mention any other way. The
intellectual vacuum of its content is staggering, but it apparently worked
well with politicians and commissioners.
The principal message for youth in the Adventure Trails program is that
mastery over nature with a machine is socially acceptable, and it's all right
to have fun with your sport even if it endangers others or detracts from
their enjoyment of dwindling natural resources.
Peter Heumann's objection to the idea that mountain biking is at
cross-purposes with hikers and equestrians is no surprise. His business is
promoting the profit-focused mountain biking industry. As an apologist for
this sport, he is good at affecting an air of innocent surprise and dismay at
the negativity of those who are offended by it.
CORBA's interest in Mandeville and the city's participation in the Adventure
Trails program is probably two-fold: (1) indoctrinate children to mountain
biking and they will some day be customers, and (2) try to show how well this
program works on 400 feet of fire road in a new city park, then argue for
mountain biking access to all city parks.
Perhaps Mr. Nettles believes that if mountain biking were legal in Elysian
Park, only non-extreme cyclists, like him, would use the trails. Perhaps one
should not expect a logical argument from someone who appears to be tacitly
teaching his son that it's all right to break certain laws.
Mr. Menudiado, in his response to the article ("Double standard," Dec. 27),
seems unaware that the "pathetic... members" of the Mountain Bike Access
Working Group included advocates for mountain biking in city parks, and that
the name was assigned by Recreation and Parks staff, intent on promoting
urban park mountain biking. He may also be unaware that many people do care
that illegal, off-leash dog walking occurs in city parks and that, as with
illegal mountain biking, dog owners are sometimes counseled or cited by park
rangers. He gets away with his scofflaw riding because there are not enough
rangers for regular patrol.
Ronald F. Brusha