LA Independent Letters to Editor, January 3, 2001.

Mountain low

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