VENICE HOMELESS POTHOLE PATROL REPORTS WHAT MAY BE BEST POTHOLE SPOTTING GROUP RESPONSE — IN EFFORT TO ASSIST MAYOR’S CITYWIDE CALL
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.