Tomorrow night, City Council will review and pick an official name for what is now known as “Buffer Park” — a 2.35-acre strip of land along Exposition Boulevard between Stewart Street and Dorchester Avenue in the Pico neighborhood.

A landscaped park proposed for the location is supposed to provide a noise buffer between the new Expo Light Rail maintenance yard on the north and the single family homes and apartments to the south. In April, the public was asked to submit names for the future park and 135 suggestions were received.

In November, the Recreation and Parks Commission reviewed the list and considered two names: “Gandara Park” and “Heroes Park.” “Gandara Park” would memorialize and honor Private JoeGandara, a Santa Monica native who was fatally wounded by enemy fire in World War II at the age of 20.

According to the staff report to council, “Although hailed a war hero, he was passed over for awards and medals at the time of his death due to his Hispanic heritage. In March 2014, Private Joe Gandarawas posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama in recognition of his heroism and valor.”

You’d think this would be a “slam-dunk,” wouldn’t you, but this is Santa Monica.

It turns out that Gandara’s surviving family “would prefer one of the forthcoming Expo stations in Santa Monica be named for him.” The problem is that station namesare “solely under the purview of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and itsBoard of Directors” and there’s no guarantee they would name an Expo stop for Gandara.

In the meantime, on Feb. 1, both City Council and Phil Brock, Chair of the Recreation and Parks Commission, were notified that the family was “humbled by the Commission’s recommendation” but “did not feel that Buffer Park is an appropriate choice to honor Private Joe Gandara.”

As an alternative to “Gandara Park,”the Recreation and Parks Commission recommended”Heroes Park” to honor all Santa Monica military service members, war heroes, and veterans. The problem is that “Heroes Park” is very generic. When I think of heroes, I also think of police and firefighters — such as the public safety heroes that responded to the World Trade Center disaster on Sept. 11, 2001.

Tomorrow night, Council can make a choice or put it off. But let me add one more name to the mix: “Rick Crocker Park” for Marine Corps Major Ricardo Antonio Crocker.

He wasa 10-year Santa Monica Police Officer, American Red Cross volunteer/CPR Instructorand youth worker with the Police Activities League (PAL). He was killed in Haditha, Iraq, on May,25, 2005 — almost 10 years ago. The 39-year-old Major Crocker was assigned to the Marine Force Reserve’s 3rd Civil Affairs Group, Camp Pendleton, California. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, his unit was attached to II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).

Rick loved education and nature. A park would be a fitting remembrance in addition to the short section of the I-10 Freeway within the city limits already named for him.

Show the world your stupidity

Anyone who posts on the Internet or has been published in a newspaper (including me) has probably been the subject of insults by “anonymous” trolls who don’t understand the issues or who think they’re clever.

Hiding behind a phony identity amps up the abusive quotient. I’ve been told that most abusive and misogynistic comments come from angry, middle-aged or older men who have nothing to do but go online, show their ignorance and spew insults. One mistake most trolls or “flamers” make is assuming something that’s not true.

Fabricating lies, mixing up facts or drawing unwarranted, false and ridiculous conclusions are common. Trolls prefer to attack the person, not their position. Haters are going to hate.

Laura Wilson has been at war with her next-door neighbor, the Palihouse Hotel (formerly the Embassy Hotel and Apartments). Wilson claims Palihouse is a noisy nuisance destroying her quiet neighborhood and that hotel owners/managers have done little to mitigate problems.

Wilson has been recording disruptive activity at the Palihouse from her apartment next door and posting the incidents on YouTube. Her latest is audio of a couple of Palihouse guests making loud, passionate love in their room ‚Äì- just feet from Wilson’s bedroom window. Her video has been linked on a number of Internet sites, including — a popular Los Angeles area real estate and development blog.

More interesting than the video itself are the crude and off-base responses by dozens of Curbed visitors. For example: Going Up posts, “(Wilson) … ought to be living on a farm in Kansas.” Thanks for sharing.

Wanderer: ” … been a hotel for a long time, so it’s not a case of the “nuisance” recently arriving in the neighborhood.” Wanderer apparently doesn’t know that the present operation has expanded considerably.

Clearvision: “This woman is one of the leaders of the no-growth movement in Santa Monica. She is one of the thought leaders behind SM’s dark money group, SMCLC and provides most of the thinking behind the SMaart Architect group of no-growthers.” Clearvision’s vision isn’t very clear and he/she is laughingly ignorant.

SomeDood: “Maybe if she shut her windows facing Third … ” Won’t do any good. She doesn’t face Third Street, she faces Palihouse.

Wally West: “She’s a cancer to SM … She either needs a hobby or someone to show her a good time.” West’s idea of a good time is picking lint out of his navel.

Bill Bauer can be reached at

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