Archive for the ‘Free Speech at the Beach’ Category

Join the Effort to Save Our Historic Landmark

The First Baptist Church of Venice, CA 

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The First Baptist Church of Venice at 685 Westminster Ave. in Venice has a historic legacy in the Venice Community.  According to the First Annual Report recorded January 02, 1914 African American residents came together to develop a worship at a place of their own on July 17, 1910, amere 45 years after slavery was abolished.  Although the group met in various places, the original church was built in 1927 on land donated by Arthur Reese, a black man, and seminal figure in Venice, CA history who came to California seeking refuge for himself and his family from the remnants of  slavery and in hopes of a better life. A remarkable accomplishment considering this was in an era of restrictive covenants and the Klu Klux Klan highly active in political leadership in West Los Angeles.

In the early 1960s the congregation outgrew the small Church so they gathered together to build a new church.  Through the personal commitment of funds, semi-skilled and skilled labor and other support services from the community, the current church at 685 Westminster was completed.  The congregation took occupancy of their new church in May 1968.   The church which is part of the ceremonially dedicated corner called E.L. Holmes Square was purchased by families who put up their land trust to purchase the property back in 1910.

Today the Church is in trouble.  Without the knowledge of the community the Church was fraudulently sold in 2017 and unless we can delay forces in action, it will become an 11,700 square foot, single family residence for millionaire Jay Penske.  Not only will this historic building we transformed into someone’s home, but the legacy, the contributions, the meaningfulness and the 108-year-old connectivity and significance to the community will be eradicated.

The vision for the First Baptist Church of Venice is to formally recognize it as a Historic Cultural Monument and continue to maintain it as the Historical Black Cultural Institution that functions as the central unifying core of the African American people of the Venice community. It is an institution that was built by African American people of the Venice community from the early 1900s and continues as the religious, spiritual, social, education and personal development inspirator of the African American Community now known as Oakwood.  The First Baptist Church of Venice represents the effort and essence of the hard working resilient pioneers and other hopeful and courageous African Americans coming to Venice from the south to escape Jim Crow laws and racism, only a few decades after the emancipation proclamation, and with meager means took the desolate place they were relegated to live from a swamp land to a livable, prosperous, community.

FBCV is the living symbol of this struggle, resilience, vision, and transformation. It is and has always been a spiritual beacon at the crossroads of the historic African American community in Venice and must be preserved as such.

We are currently in the process of establishing ourselves as a Community Land Trust (CLT) with the intention of retaining ownership of the Church & its land to ensure that it remains in the community’s possession in perpetuity. The purpose of this CLT is to benefit the neighborhood and the preservation of black and other marginalized cultures and histories in Venice. Through this land use model the community will steward the land and achieve equity.

Go here to learn more …. and to sign the petition and donate to this worthy cause

save-venice

 

PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY TO THE SAVE VENICE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
YOUR DONATIONS, LARGE OR SMALL, ARE URGENTLY NEEDED
TO KEEP THIS LAWSUIT IN THE COURT – THANK YOU!

PRESS RELEASE  February 2, 2017

VC-PUCC LAWSUIT CLAIMING CITY OF LA SIDESTEPS ITS RESPONSIBILITIES IN APPROVING VENICE DEVELOPMENTS WITHOUT PUBLIC PROCESS MOVES FORWARD

City Said: Dismiss The Case, Judge Says NO!!!

SaveVenice

On February 2, 2017, Judge Yvette M. Palazuelos issued her ruling allowing the lawsuit filed by the Venice Coalition to Preserve Unique Community Character (VC-PUCC) against the City of Los Angeles to proceed to trial. The judge agreed with Venice activists that the burden is on the city to prove it is following its own policies and procedures in approving hundreds of demolitions and huge development projects – while destroying historic neighborhoods and affordable housing, and pushing low and middle-income residents and communities of color out of Venice. The trial date was set for July 3, 2017.

“The City tried to get the case dismissed without a trial, saying that Plaintiffs have no causes of action against the City,” said plaintiffs’ lawyer Sabrina Venskus. “The Court disagreed with the City and is allowing the case to proceed to trial.”

The City of Los Angeles Planning Department’s VSO (Venice Sign Off) procedure fails to ensure that developments comply with the Venice Land Use Plan requirements that all development respect the mass, scale, character and landscaping of existing neighborhoods. Additionally, the City of Los Angeles Planning Department has illegally issued hundreds of Coastal Exemptions, which has enabled developers to by-pass important protections imposed by the California Coastal Act.

The Venice plaintiffs claim that many residents in Venice, especially in the poorer areas, have their rights to due process violated when construction occurs without the full process of notifying neighbors, as is done in many of the swankier areas of Venice including the walk streets. With the current VSOs, demolitions often proceed without any notice or input from the surrounding neighbors, causing extreme duress for many residents.

There are four causes of action that the lawsuit is going to determine: Violation of Article 1, Section 7 of the California Constitution; Violation of the Venice Land Use Plan; Violation of Section 30000 et seq., of the California Coastal Act; and Violations of Sections 30003 and 30610 of the California Coastal Act.

* SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES CASE NO.: BC 611549

COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF FOR VIOLATIONS OF PLAINTIFFS’ CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS UNDER THE CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION (Cal. Const., art.1, para.7), THE CALIFORNIA COASTAL ACT (Pub.Resources Code, para. 30000 et seq.), THE VENICE LAND USE PLAN (Los Angeles Planning and Zoning Law), and CALIFORNIA CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE para. 526a

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carl-lambert-criminal-charges

When not manning Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) election boxes, being a key player in the Venice Chamber of Commerce’s (VCC) controversial takeover of the VNC, or evicting rent stabilized tenants from their homes, former Venice Chamber President Carl Lambert may now add fighting criminal charges to his list of activities.

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Laddie Williams, President of VC-PUCC: ”It was invitation only meeting held at Westminster Elementary School, to have a focus group about the Venice Local Coastal Plan (LCP). The plan is to rewrite the Local Coastal Plan and to have it ratified to be used by the city of Los Angeles.

It was a list that had developers, architects, lawyers and a few community members. Of course, none of the VC-PUCC Members were on this said list. Many of us crashed this meeting at Westminster Elementary school to let Los Angeles City Planning know that this meeting is a complete disrespect to the entire city of Venice west of Lincoln. This focus group should have been open to the entire community because we have a right to be a part of the process.

LCP
Needless to say the meeting was cancelled. Apologies were given to the community and the people who were there to voice their concerns about not being invited officially to the presentation of the rewriting of the Venice Local Coastal Plan?

We received a promise that Los Angeles City Planning would do a better job of inviting community not architects, developers and real estate people. It was infuriating to see this room of ‘special interests’ who were there for the focus group.

Venice showed up to show out for our beloved community…the meeting stopped and didn’t happen, with a promise to reschedule and include everyone. “

Stay tuned…

BONIN ADDRESSES CITY COUNCIL IN SUPPORT OF HIS MOTION

On March 31, 2015, CD11 Councilmember Mike Bonin brought a motion to L.A. City Council to overturn the WLA Planning Commission’s decision to DENY a key aspect of the controversial, precedent-setting 758 Sunset Avenue proposed small lot subdivision project (SLS).  The motion passed and the project will now be heard at the City Council Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee. Date TBA.

Here’s how Bonin justified his actions:  

“In the matter of 758 Sunset, the West LA APC considered four issues —  a Tentative Parcel Map, a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) a Mello Act Determination, and a Zoning Administrator’s Adjustment.  The commission approved the Parcel Map, approved the CDP, and approved the Mello Act Determination, but denied the Adjustment.  The denial of the Adjustment effectively halted the project.  

However, since then, the Planning Department and the City Attorney have determined that the request for the Adjustment was not required, and the Planning should not have advised the applicant to seek it.  Therefore, the APC’s action regarding the Adjustment needs to be reconsidered.”

To view/download Bonin’s Motion (15-0362) go here: http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2015/15-0362_mot_3-31-15.pdf

If you’re not happy with this development email Bonin – councilmember.bonin@lacity.org – and let him have it!

Also, please get your friends, family and neighbors to sign our petition (now 681 signatures strong & growing!) – and let’s show them that WE CARE ABOUT OUR COMMUNITY!!! Thank you – https://www.change.org/p/calling-for-a-moratorium-on-small-lot-subdivisions-mansionization-in-venice-ca

donationsTHANK YOU! Your signatures, phone calls, attendance at meetings, letters and actions have been essential to our success this year in fighting the hyper-gentrification of Venice.

Although we have not yet managed to stem the tide of hyper-development in our precious Venice community, we have collectively made a dent in the armor of the developers and their City Planner cohorts by holding them accountable whenever and wherever possible.

We have also managed to “crack the code” to some degree and discover what the problems are and how to fix them, which is not going to be easy. Basically, there are too many loopholes in the planning process that allow developers to circumvent the law and bypass public scrutiny of their projects, until it’s too late.

The fight will continue in the coming year as activists gear up for more confrontations with developers and L.A. City Planning – armed with experience and knowledge gained over the past year. There’s a strong likelihood of legal action(s) being taken in 2015 that will challenge the systemic corruption inherent in the planning process that is affecting communities across the entire City of Los Angeles.

This is not the time to sit on our hands and bemoan our fate – we must continue to stand up, stand strong and give voice to our dissatisfaction with the assault on our community.

The Spirit Of Venice (SOV) has been on the front lines of this issue and, with your help, will continue to provide you with information, alerts and actions that can help to make a difference.

In the past, we have never asked for anything in return for our hard work but, as the year 2014 comes to a close we are asking you for your help – by making an end-of-year tax-deductible donation to the Spirit Of Venice –

If you appreciate what we are doing and want us to continue this battle for our community – please consider making a donation today to help us go forward in 2015 – click here to give:-  https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=6845EC6QYYV28

Thank you for caring and sharing! Blessings, SOV

ORGANIZATIONS COMMEMORATE DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
BY HOLDING WEST COAST DAYS OF ACTION
FOR HOMELESS BILL OF RIGHTS

Los Angeles Action to be Held in Venice Beach


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