April 4, 2013 Local News & Culture. Marina del Rey Westchester Free S a n ta M o n i c a P l aya d e l R e y P l aya V i s t a M a r V i s ta Del Rey VenicE Photo by Jorge M. Vargas Infrastructure Repairs Could Cost Several Billion Dollars says more money is In-Focus Roundtable Panel needed to improve city’s ROUNDTABLE - From left: Los Angeles Public Works Commissioner Steven Nutter, John Gregory, legislative deputy for Councilman Bill Rosendahl, DWP Director of Water Engineering and Technical Services Susan Rowghani and DWP spokeswoman Jane Galbraith. Playa del Rey Dockweiler Beach bonfires could be extinguished under proposed countywide ban By Vince Echavaria What began as a push by a city in Orange County to remove its popular beach bonfire pits has begun to drift toward other areas where open burning has been a cherished tradition, including Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey. Flames from the dozens of fire pits dotting Dockweiler are visible to motorists traveling along scenic Vista del Mar in the evening, and the smell from grills and logs burning in the beach’s fire rings is a common scent for cyclists and pedestrians passing through the stretch of sand on the bike path. Visitors come from throughout the region and some arrive hours early to lay claim to a bonfire pit where their friends or family members can later join them for a nighttime gathering around the flames with the sound of waves crashing in the background. At Dockweiler and other Southern California beaches, this has been an activity experienced by generations of families, or for others, a new way to enjoy the beach lifestyle. But the opportunity to light bonfires could be extinguished under a proposal by staff of the South Coast Air Quality Management District to ban open burning on all beaches in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The AQMD staff recommended last month that an amendment be made to an existing district rule that would outlaw open burning on L.A. and Orange county beaches year-round as a way to protect beachgoers and residents living nearby from the effects of breathing in wood smoke and other materials burned in the pits. “(Staff) is looking at prohibiting open fires on (Continued on page 9) networks of sidewalks, pipelines By Gary Walker The American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure estimated that there is a $549.5 billion shortfall in investments in roads and bridges. In Mar Vista, a small group of residents were considering last year how they could secede, or break away, from the city of Los Angeles due to what they say is a lack of concern from their city representatives for their local streets, curbs, municipal buildings and sidewalks. The state of the city’s networks of roads, pipelines and sewers is of major concern to many Westside residents, including those in Council District 11, which includes Venice, Playa del Rey, Westchester, Del Rey and Mar Vista. The Argonaut hosted an infrastructure roundtable on March 21 with representatives from the Department of Water and Power, a city Board of Public Works commissioner and a representative of Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s office in order to get a sense of the condition of the city’s electrical and water networks, as well as the state of its infrastructure and what it will cost to repair it. Susan Rowghani and Eric Hartman spoke about the DWP’s water infrastructure and the agency’s power systems, respectively, including what new plans the agency has regarding them. DWP officials say the agency is in the process of identifying the most seriously degraded areas of its infrastructure and has refurbished a great deal of it, but (Continued on page 6) •This Week• Page 12 The third annual Tecopa Music & Arts Festival, featuring 11 bands including 2 Bit Radio (above), will be held at the Marina del Rey Hotel Saturday, April 6.