Native grass eradication program

From the Daily Breeze, our local paper, comes this "interesting" article. Apparently, all you have to do to remove native grasses is to complain that they are ugly and obscure the views from benches. The whole idea is so ludicrous that I have to quote the article in its entirety.

Original Article

Originally published Monday, June 26, 2006
Updated Monday, June 26, 2006

Some want to weed out this grass in San Pedro
A letter saying the waterfront promenade's greenery "looks ugly" piqued the attention of port officials, who plan to address the issue this week. Public opinion is invited.
By Donna Littlejohn
Daily Breeze

Is it native grass? Or just a bunch of weeds?

You decide.

It's the latest debate over San Pedro's waterfront promenade as the California native grasses originally planted along the Harbor Boulevard promenade are reaching new heights this summer.

Designers went with the tall native landscaping -- bearing exotic names like monkey grass and blue-eyed grass -- because it was a natural look that required little water and upkeep.

But critics think it all needs a good weed whacking.

"It looks ugly," said Bob Rapp of Wilmington, a retired mail carrier who comes to San Pedro's coast every morning to walk. "Don't those harbor commissioners ever look at the thing? Maybe they should go to the Grinder (across the street) and take a look."

As it turns out, he may have a point.

Port officials say they are indeed taking a fresh look at the natural landscaping after Rapp's letter to the editor criticizing the grass earlier this month in the Daily Breeze.

At first, said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, she was amused to read Rapp's June 14 letter taking the port to task for its "cheap, unattractive, low-maintenance clump grass."

"It's a disgrace to the beauty of the San Pedro Harbor," he wrote.

The native grass, of course, is supposed to be tall, allowed to grow and wave unfettered in the coastal breeze.

But just as a test, she decided to take a few senior port staffers out to the promenade for an informal poll.

"They were unanimous that it looked like weeds," Knatz said.

Tall native grasses work well, she said, in settings such as Cape Cod, Mass., where the grass is interspersed with rolling sand dunes. But in an industrial area such as the Port of Los Angeles?

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn thinks not.

"I've always hated that," Hahn said when asked about the tall grass.

"The reason for the promenade is to give people access to the water, and some of that grass grows so high that if you're sitting on the benches all you see is a wall of native grass -- if that's what you want to call it. I think they're weeds."

She'd rather see lawn space that people can walk and sit on.

The native grass runs along the 1-mile promenade on Harbor Boulevard from Swinford to Fifth streets.

Residents will have a chance to weigh in on the topic from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday when the port holds a workshop on interim waterfront improvements, including landscaping. The meeting will be in the Madeo Room of the Marina Hotel, 2800 Via Cabrillo Marina in San Pedro. For more information, call 310-732-3567 or go to www.portoflosangeles.org.

As for Rapp, he thinks the native grass is ruining what could be a beautiful promenade.

"Could you take a picture postcard of that?" Rapp said. "They should bring in a reputable landscaping firm, put some grass in there, maybe some flowers."

Barring that, he said, maybe this is a job for San Pedro's goats.

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