Archive for May, 2011


Posted: May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Venice Homeless Activists’ Homeless/Housed Unity Pothole Patrol May be Largest Group Response to LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Citywide Pothole Effort. Event Logs over 10 miles of Pothole Spotting in Show of Community Unity: Draws Local Media Attention to Homeless/Housed  Event Highlighting  Homeless Vets

A group Venice Beach homeless people, including homeless veterans, in a pre-Memorial Weekend effort announced today the  successful results of their one-day Thursday May 26, 2011 call to bring together the housed and homeless of the Venice Beach area for a ‘Community Unity Pothole Patrol’: an effort that organizers now believe may in fact turn out to be the largest and most successful of any single group response in Los Angeles –to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s marking of May as pothole-fixing-month in Los Angeles.

“We, a group of  homeless, with our limited resources, and while facing increasing attempts here to kick us out of Venice, nevertheless gathered together  with a handful of what we now feel are some of the most special housed people in all of this Beach community –and after  logging over 70 potholes in one hour, and covering over 10 miles Venice of pothole spotting –may have pulled out for the City of Los Angeles it’s largest and most successful group effort,” said one of the homeless organizers, community activist David Busch.

Beginning the day’s events at 1:30 pm yesterday the group drew the media attention of  ABC 7’s local news cameras, Radio Station KFI, several local internet reports; and the Los Angele’s Times widely-read LA Now internet blog, the group of about a dozen –some  homeless people, currently living on the  street in Venice Beach  — and with the support of about an equal number of the  housed Venice community, gathered on the sidewalk in front of Venice Beach’s famous Frank Gerry-designed “Binoculars Building” at 340 Main Street –in answer the Mayor’s call this month for all Los Angelenos to support this city’s campaign of pothole-filling: by reporting the potholes in their neighborhoods to the Mayor’s office at L.A. City Hall by and to do it by Friday afternoon.

“The homeless in Venice have recently been vilified as ‘criminal transients.’ They saw the mayor’s call for volunteers as a chance to show they care about our community and showed that they are ready to make a positive difference,” said local homeowner David Ewing. “and I must say, it absolutely was a great day to be part of this. Instead of pointing fingers at each other, we pointing out potholes –to help fix our neighborhood; and we were especially inviting our area’s homeless vets in this  –to bring this community of Venice even more together –and in view of this weeks upcoming Memorial weekend.”

Disproportionally, 26% of America’s  homeless  men are veterans, while vets as a whole are  11% of our nation.


After their afternoon of pothole-spotting for the Mayor, the event included a  3:30 pm press conference back on the sidewalk in front of 340 Main St; and concluded with a community/unity housed homeless hot dinner –at 4:00 pm in the Community Room of nearby Venice Community Housing: a supporting organization that works at seeking more supportive and affordable housing developments in increasingly upscale Venice Beach.

“It turned out to be a great day for the  Los Angeles news media to come out with our group of local homeless in Venice Beach –and to accompany and interview us as we walked down a sample of Venice’s neighborhood streets; as we spent an afternoon spotting as many potholes as we could for the Mayor’s current effort, and for these reporters to hear our individual stories of the ongoing struggle of homelessness in Los Angeles; and what it is like for homeless vet and non-vets at Venice Beach –facing recent LAPD sweeps to clear the community for summer tourists,” says one of the event’s organizers, Venice community activist, Barbara Peck.

While the final technical printouts and official results from were still  unavailable to the homeless group, as of late Friday afternoon May 27, when the group FAXed into the Mayor’s office their carefully tallied and marked printed spreadsheets –to document needed Venice street pothole maintenance –earlier inquires to Mayor Villiragosa’s office, including to Villriagosa staffer Larry Frank  had found, as of yet, no other larger officially announced group responses to the Mayor’s pothole campaign for the month of May.



Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice —


Mrs “B” is VERY PRIVATE AND RESERVED 80-something homeless woman –who, until recently –has lived quietly in our Venice Beach Community.

In recent years, however, her and her dog’s only affordable housing, any longer available in Venice Beach, CA –has been her RV.

And this week, LAPD –busily now doing militaristic sweeps of the Tourist Boardwalk  to shut it down, as a diverse place for LA residents –has finally started now even terrorizing her.

Mrs. “B.” suffers from cancer –and is under constant care at Kasier Hospital, West Los Angeles –and, horrifically, has become increasing isolated, confused and fearful in recent years; as the “Leaders” in the only home she has known for decades, Venice Beach,  seems to not  even care about her on-going homeless plight.

Or be able to find her the basic human right to housing in her home community, Venice Beach.

Moreover, in the last weeks –on top of this –as part of the LAPD sweeps of homeless people in this area, she is now in the midst of her most hellish nightmare: One of community hate, agency shuffles –and  vicious LAPD  officer threats, catering disgustingly to   the anti-homeless hate-campaign of “Yo Venice,” “Venice 311,” and KFI radio –demanding that she “must” leave the Venice area.

Last week, she was moved by direct orders of  LAPD officers (including a Captain) from her quiet, un-obtrusive parking on Washington Blvd (on a side street behind a commercial district) to supposedly, a safe spot in front of WCIL on Venice Blvd. near Beethovan.

Before that, she had parked for years near the deserted, empty, 700 units of ghost-housing at Lincoln Place: and was befriended by the few that hang on in that attacked affordable-housing community –until cops demanded, in recent times that she leave.

Now, a service agency demanded that she submit to being  moved by them across county, away from Venice, and her doctors and last friends  –to Montrose: In the last few days, on top of this, insensitive homeless-haters in this location (picked for her by the LAPD) next complained to LAPD, who next demanded that she now move from parking in front of WCIL.

Without giving her any new safe option.

Nor will WCIL allow her to park in their large, empty, parking lot.

Totally bereft –Mrs. B., abandoned by ALL, is back on Washington Blvd.  –and terrified that at any minute now the LAPD is coming back.

–Why are agencies like PATH not recognizing her human right to housing in her community –Venice Beach:  And standing up, right now, for her right to remain here?

—-Why have so many in this community allowed St. Joesph’s center to been continually harrassed  and denounced for their blessed and long-dogged commitment to helping the homeless, like her, here?

–Why is the LAPD now constantly getting away with just callously terrorizing this woman with fake promises and threats? The California Constitution demands that care of the aged and indigent is a County Official’s direct responsibility –will it take a State Marshall’s supena for the arrest of some County officials (for ignoring the plight of thousands in LA County, like Mrs. “B”)  before they stop ignoring this raging campaign of hate against the homeless –in now money-and-hate-dominated Venice Beach Los Angeles?

–Most outrageously, nobody from Councilman Rosendahl’s staff seems to have found any  time yet –to find out  this long-time, 80-year-old Venice  resident’s, minor restroom, and transportation, and other basic human needs —-for inclusion in the “Streets to Homes” program.  This; while Rosendahl refuses to stand up against the haters, and LAPD, and Chief Charles Beck, and Captain Peters: who, as a disgustingly combined monster, in our community, are now in full-tilt plot to terrorize this woman.

Please contact these officials on behalf of this woman and the others now being thrown aside under Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendal’s “Carrot and Stick” hate campaign against the community’s homeless.

David Busch

Capt. Peters Comforts RV Dweller Darlene Knoll

While LAPD officers hassle, harass and harangue the homeless on Venice beach, stealing their meager possessions and tossing them into sanitation trucks, as they did at 3:00 am on the morning of Friday, May 13, 2011 –LAPD Captain Peters appears to have a soft spot for Darlene Knoll, a long-time Venice resident RV dweller.

A disabled paraplegic artist of color was ordered to get up and leave the area. As he struggled to climb into his wheelchair, his lifeless legs dragging on the ground, the LAPD officer told him that if he didn’t move faster he would confiscate all his possessions. The artist continued to struggle but was unable to comply with the officer’s demands quickly enough. He watched in despair as the officer STOLE his bag of painting materials (his very livelihood) and threw them into the waiting sanitation truck. 

While Peters leads the charge against people living in their vehicles and sleeping on the beach, he shows what appears to be a rare moment of sympathy and comfort to Darlene –who was threatened repeatedly with arrest by LAPD officers –for documenting the arrests of poor people and the towing of their vehicles during the police sweep of RVs in Venice over the 2010 Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season.

Abbott Kinney, Founder of Venice of America, July 4, 1905

More often than not, though, Capt. Peters dances to the tune of an elite group of Venice residents who call themselves “Venice Stakeholders Association (VSA)”; whose prime motive appears to be the gentrification of Venice and the destruction of the time-honored free “Spirit of Venice” that has drawn millions of visitors to Venice Beach, California, over the decades, since Abbott Kinney first created his visionary “Venice of America” city out of coastland marshes.

Back in the day, Venice was a place where people came from all over America and the world –to have fun, let off steam and express themselves, as in the case of prominent civil rights leader, feminist Susan B. Anthony; who is reported to have expressed her political views from the west side of Venice beach boardwalk in the area now known as the “Free Speech Zone”.   This tradition has continued to the present time, peaking in the 1990s when artists, entertainers, performers, religious, ideological and political “expressionists” proliferated in the Free Speech Zone.  In recent years the City of Los Angeles has succeeded in turning this once expressive Free Speech Zone into more of a swap meet ambiance by condoning vending of mass-produced trinkets and bric-a-brac that carry little or no intrinsic “free speech” message.

Venice Canals During the 1930s Oil Boom

The community’s tie to the story of the free speech zone continued into the 1930s; Venice property values depreciated dramatically when the oil boom hit the coastal area, continuing into the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

In the late 1950s and 1960s beats and hippies moved to Venice, congregating in coffee shops and low-cost housing. Another history was made, now firmly establishing a tradition of free expression that has carried over to present times.  Young travelers hitch hiked from all over America drawn to the creative freedom of Venice beach; Houseless people found a home on the beach; alternative lifestyle denizens, dubbed “rubber tramps”, parked their RVs and vans on public streets; displaying their artistic creations in the Free Speech Zone.  Long-time residents of Venice, originally drawn by the 1930’s oil boom and the subsequent low property values, learned to live side by side with their eclectic new mobile neighbors, establishing a relationship built upon tolerance and goodwill; further promoting the ambiance of expressive freedom that has historically made Venice what it is.

Venice thereby accommodated low-income and poor people for decades, while neighboring cities like Santa Monica and Marina Del Rey pushed development. Then, in 1976 the California Coastal Act was created –to protect over-development of California coastal areas, subsequently restricting rapid development in Venice, which had lagged behind its more affluent neighbors.  Consequently, Venice continued, through the 1970s and 1980s, to offer affordable accommodation to residents and travelers alike.

Moving forward into the 1990s, Venice continued to attract low-income residents and travelers, thanks to the California Coastal Commission that had created the Coastal Act — and this, together with the Mello Act, a California State Law that requires all development within the coastal zone (1 mile from the coast) to include affordable housing. In 1998, POWER member group Venice Community Housing Corporation, along with other neighborhood associations, sued the City of Los Angeles for not enforcing the Mello Act. In 2001, this group won a settlement –forcing local developers to either set aside 20% of their units as low-income housing or 10% of their units as very low-income housing.

Throuhout, the Venice tradition of serving low-income and poor people was sustained until approximately the year 2000; when the last oil well in Venice (1965-2000) was removed from the beach at Windward Avenue, and its monstrous decoy, the Venice pavilion, was demolished, opening the door to rapid development and gentrification of what had, until then, become a haven for low-income and poor people.

Fast forward now to the present time –as eager developers and corporate entities prepare for the final takeover of what many consider to be the last bastion of freedom on the west coast of California, and possibly the whole of the USA, Venice Beach.  The “people’s beach” — a place where visitors and residents alike enjoy an ambiance of freedom, fun and expression.  Recent attempts by Los Angeles city and Venice gentrifiers to curtail these freedoms, aided by increased police numbers, activity and enforcement, are, today, threatening the very ambiance that makes Venice “Venice”.

Unsubstantiated claims of increased criminal activity in Venice, promoted by mainstream media –and those with a vested interest in gentrifying Venice –have unfairly portrayed the houseless community, young travelers, and people of color as the primary cause.  These houseless, young travelers and people of color, both resident and visitor alike, are now daily targeted by LAPD officers for selective enforcement scrutiny, resulting in an overflowing congestion of the Los Angeles courts and jails.  These houseless and vehicle dwellers are under constant threat of criminal prosecution as the City of Los Angeles continues its heartless persecution of the poor.

Go here to sign our petition:


Many say, however, that Venice will always now be Venice.  And many of those are seen, today, to be taking new actions in that direction.

Their call –against the gentrifiers: Keep Venice Venice!

Diverse, Open and Free!!!


Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice —



Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice —


CPRA To Office of City Attorney Concerning Take Over of Vera Davis Center

Vera Davis McClendon Youth and Family Center in Venice at 6th and California Ave.

To::  Mike Dundas, Deputy City Attorney
cc:   Kevin Regan, Assistant General Manager Parks and RECS
Herb Wesson, Janice Hahn -City Council members
Charlie Beck, LA Chief of Police
Olga Garay, Executive Director LA Cultural Affairs
Cliff Weiss, Spokesperson CDE

From: Rick Selan, Educational Advocate

Re:  Hahn -Wesson Motion Concerning Vera Davis Center ( March 18, 2011)

Dear Mr. Dundas,

The office of City Attorney Carmen Trutanich advised me today that CPRA’s are to be filed with you.I am concerned about the Hahn-Wesson Motion of 3-18-11 concerning the takeover of the Vera Davis McClendon Center by LA Cultural Affairs as CDD can no longer afford to support it.

Below, I will include History so your office may follow the dots.

Under a Public Records Request, please provide me:

On April 12, 2011, this advocate and a member of VNC were told by Executive Director of Cultural Affairs Olga Garry that she decided to assist Council Member Rosendahl to allow the Vera Davis Center to become an additional Family Source Center to be included with the 14 sites already selected funded by Cultural Affairs as Family Source Centers. Apparently the funds to cover Vera Davis will come from the sum already allotted for the 14 sites that were previously selected. A meeting was set up with Ms. Garay, her Assistant Executive Director Saul Romo, and Bill Rosendahl Deputy Arturo Pina.

According to Ms. Garay, at this meeting, Deputy Pina stated:  “The goal was to permit  Venice Arts  to take over the management of the Vera Davis Center”. [This conversation is on tape]

On Tuesday, April 26,2011, at a VNC meeting, which was recorded, upon being questioned, Mr. Pina denied ever making that statement that Ms. Garay made very clear to both myself and the VNC Board member. Mr. Romo stated, “He could not recall any discussion.”

To create more chaos, outside the VNC Meeting, VNC Member and former VNC President Mike Newhouse, who may or may not be the attorney for
VNC and/or Venice Arts, informed  a group outside during the meeting that it was not CD11 that chose the Venice Arts group to take over the Vera Davis Center but it was your office, the Office of the City Attorney, that chose the Venice Arts Group under Lynn Warshavsky, Executive Director.

1. Which department or city office chose the Venice Arts to take over the Vera Davis Center in Venice ?

2. What were the qualifications this department used to make this determination and please mail, e-mail, or fax a copy of the blank form?

3. While CD11, CDD, and Cultural Affairs continue to state no RFP has been selected, why does Cultural Affairs and Attorney Newhouse make statements about the RFP already being chosen?

4. If in fact a RFP was not chosen, where might one obtain an application to apply for the RFP for the Vera Davis Center ?

Please provide clarity to a “less than clear” community.

In unity for accountability,
Rick Selan

History on this topic can be found at: