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There was standing room only at the VNC Neighborhood Committee meeting on Monday, January 24, 2012. Boisterous proponents of the new curfew affecting Ocean Front Walk (Venice Boardwalk) showed extreme satisfaction with the city’s decision to restrict access to the boardwalk between the hours of 12 midnight and 5:00 am.
Some residents claiming to live close to the boardwalk cited fear of walking the boardwalk because of the youth who congregate there, camped out over night. Other residents complained that the curfew was over-reaching and restrictive to their freedom to come and go when they choose. Then again, others questioned why the curfew was needed, at all, as there are already laws on the books to deal with unlawful activity on the boardwalk.
CD 11 Deputy, Arturo Pina, gratuitously fielded questions from the room after explaining that the boardwalk has always been part of the park, and a curfew applies to all parks from midnight to 5:00 am. LAPD officer Kreeft mis-spoke when she claimed that the “Jones Settlement” (allowing homeless individuals to sleep on the sidewalk) only applied to Skid Row, downtown. While LAPD officer Thusing assured the crowd that the situation on the boardwalk at night is “dangerous” – begging the question: so why haven’t the police been dealing with it?
According to officer Kreeft the police have had their “hands tied” through fear of lawsuits; and have, additionally, been lacking in sufficient personnel to cope with the problem. To which one astute resident asked: so, how do they expect to cope with it now?
Residents who live off Speedway were concerned that the new curfew will drive the homeless campers east of the boardwalk and up onto their property. They were also afraid that there would be more late night foot traffic on Speedway, comprised of drunks turning out of the bars, which would add to the mix, creating noise problems and safety issues.
Mention of the Coastal Commission and the California Coastal Act were noticeably absent from the meeting, an issue that has yet to be properly addressed by the city with regard to the curfew on the beaches, and now the boardwalk. According to correspondence from the Coastal Commission on August 26, 2010 to the City of Los Angeles “the beach curfew…qualifies as development under the Coastal Act and therefore requires a coastal development permit.” The letter also states that “The imposition of this beach curfew, as is it’s clearly stated intent, restricts public access to the sea.”
It is very possible and highly probable that a lawsuit will be the deciding factor in this dispute. Meanwhile, our freedoms continue to be slowly but surely eradicated at the behest of the City of Los Angeles and a handful of fearful “stakeholders” in Venice who are determined to make Venice their proprietary domain.
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