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24 Hour Poll: Should the Ballona Creek Statues Stay or Go?

9:19 AM PST on February 16, 2011

Along the lower part of Ballona Creek in the Marina area, of the Ballona Creek Bike path rest a small series of sculptures created by local artist John Nielsen. While many people enjoy these statues, the County Engineer, Gregory Sarpy has ordered their destruction.  You've heard the expression the "squeeky wheel gets the grease?"  This is a great example of that old saying.  One person has been calling the engineers office daily to complain of the statues and he's apparently getting his way.  The stated concern is that the rock art is interfering with bird nesting.  I'm not sure what birds are trying to nest in that superexposed area, which is flooded during storms and just inches from the bikepath, but maybe the county knows something I don't.

Back in May of 2010, Nielsen spontaneously decided to begin work on these sculptures.  While birds and tides have sometimes knocked the sculptures down, Nielsen takes time to rebuild and add to the sculptures nearly everyday.  While Nielsen is local, he is world renowned.  On the same day he found out about the planned demolition of his sculptures, he also found out some of his work will be exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in Oslo, Norway.  But success hasn't gone to Nielsen's head, he can often be found picking up trash around the trail and his sculptures.

A second major issue here is that Nielsen is doing this work in an area that isn't really for public use. As harmless as his work is to the community and and ecology, it might give other people the idea to make public displays of their own ideas, which might include paint, constructions with materials not native to that site.  If that's the county's real issue, they're keeping it under wraps.

So here's the question, should the statues stay or go?  We'll send Sarpy the results of the below poll tomorrow morning at 10:00 A.M.

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