Posts Tagged ‘beach’

Abbott Kinney, Founder of Venice of America, CA

Abbott Kinney, Founder of Venice of America, CA

An old Abbott Kinney deed, buried in the Los Angeles City Archives, has surfaced recently, thanks to the work of two Venice activists (who prefer to remain anonymous). The 1912 deed implies that if the property designated for the Venice canals is not maintained for use as “permanent waterways and canals”, it shall revert back to the Abbott Kinney Company or its successors.

Given that most of the canals were filled in back in the 1920s, does this now mean that the City of Los Angeles is in violation of this deed?  And, if so, does this now mean that the land shall revert back to the AK Company (no longer in existence) or its successors – whoever they may be?

This deed states that:  “If second party [City of Venice], or its successors, shall fail, neglect, or refuse, for ninety days after written notice, to comply with all or any of the beforementioned conditions, then and in that event, this grant shall cease, determine and become void, and the full fee simple title, without encumbrance of any kind by reason of this indenture shall thereupon without any action on the part of the grantor become vested in said first part [Abbott Kinney Company], its successors or assigns.” Click AKDeedCanals 1912 to view complete deed.

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Go here to read more on The Lost Canals of Venice of America from KCET – http://www.kcet.org/updaily/socal_focus/history/la-as-subject/the-lost-canals-of-venice-of-america.html

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March 26, 2015

DENY 259 HAMPTON PROJECT – NO MORE ALCOHOL LICENSES IN VENICE – THERE IS ALREADY AN OVER-SATURATION OF ALCOHOL IN VENICE – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!

AlcoholBan

Dear friends and neighbors,

Even though the community WON the 259 Hampton Drive appeal at the WLA Planning Commission Hearing on Jan 7, 2015 — the owner requested a re-hearing, because HE LEFT THE BUILDING BEFORE THE HEARING STARTED!!! Now he’s demanding his RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS! As a result, the project will be reviewed AGAIN by the WLA Planning Commission on April 1, 2015 @ 4:30 pm.

It is time we launched into URGENT ACTION in preparation for this Appeal re-hearing of 259 Hampton Drive — NEXT WED 1st April at 4.30pm at West LA Planning Commission.

Go here to watch video of 1st Appeal Hearing that took place on January 7, 2015 – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4bxvYWxZpRJmJt23sLSX1PCtJizDdj_G

PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU CAN BE THERE TO TESTIFY OR SILENTLY SUPPORT – and bring a friend /neighbor (or three!) We need as many bodies in the room as we can get to save our neighborhood!

**WE WON THE CASE LAST TIME AND WE CAN AGAIN IF WE ALL SHOW UP!!!**

ASAP- WE NEED TO URGENTLY SEND TWO LETTERS:
Please take just 10 mins out of your busy day to do so. One letter to Mike Bonin, and one to the Commissioners. Please send to ALL email addresses I have listed and BCC me on them, so we can keep it on our case file.

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE DEAR FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS!!! Remember, together many voices can and DO make a change!

LETTER #1 TO COUNCILMAN BONIN:

mike.bonin@lacity.org
councilmember.bonin@lacity.org

cc:
chris.robertson@lacity.org
cecilia.castillo@lacity.org
tricia.keane@lacity.org

SUBJECT LINE:
DENY 259 HAMPTON PROJECT…. UPHOLD APPEAL: ZA-2012-1770-CDP-CUB

***Please personalize it as you see fit. It will be better if not all letters read the same! Does NOT have to be LOTS of detail. This is a sample letter, with listed points you can pull from. If you live across the alley, say so. If you own across the street, say so. Make it personal as to how YOUR LIVES will be affected!

***Don’t forget to sign your name and address (if you are close by) at the bottom.
————————-

Dear Councilman Bonin,

I request that you OPPOSE the proposed bar/restaurant with full alcohol at 259 HAMPTON DRIVE due for rehearing on Aril 1st. The project is a 2 story, open rooftop bar/restaurant WITH ZERO PARKING, 15 FEET from peoples homes. It has been operating illegally as a sit down restaurant for five years already.

We thank you for coming out in opposition against 320 Sunset, which was the right decision in support of the Venice community. We remind you that this project at 259 Hampton is a mere block and a half away, hence imposes a worse cumulative negative impact on the community and surrounding neighbors.

To quote from YOUR letter of opposition against Sunset, dated 31 October 2014:-

“It is absolutely imperative that we do not sacrifice the sanctity and well being of the existing adjacent residential neighborhoods. The success of one cannot be to the detriment of the other.”

“The noise and other disruption that will result from the operation of this restaurant/bar is an due burden to place on the neighbors across the alley” [and across the road]

“I am deeply concerned that the noise and its impacts from the patio, given the proximity to residences cannot and will not be adequately mitigated.”

[Zero parking]…”does not meet the REAL demand that a project of this scale will generate.”

We find that all of your concerns as quoted for the Sunset project should be applicable to the 259 Hampton proposal. The intensification of this site sets a very worrisome precedent, and is detrimental to our neighborhood for the following reasons:-

OVER SATURATION OF ALCOHOL
* Venice is over-saturated with alcohol licenses already. Four times the allowable limit per ABC. ABC Regulation 61.4 states that there should not be alcohol licenses approved within 100 feet of residential homes, yet this project is 15 feet from residents!

SENSITIVE ISSUES – ALCOHOL
* This project is on the same block as 2 CHURCHES and A HERITAGE LISTED SYNAGOGUE – as well as CHILD CARE and PRE-SCHOOL. This is an essential factor in the dis-allowing of alcohol per ABC, and adds concern re the density and intensification of 259 Hampton site.

INCREASED CRIME
*It is well documented that there is a direct correlation between high density of alcohol outlets and the increase in serious crime. In this census tract, there is almost four times the average crime rate for LA. The LAPD has weighed in that they DO NOT WANT ANY new alcohol licenses in Venice, and THEY ARE PARTICULARLY OPPOSING THIS APPLICATION FOR ALCOHOL AT 259 HAMPTON DRIVE. Venice may be a tourist destination to some, but to thousands of us it is our home.

NOISE NUISANCE
* A bar/restaurant within 15 feet of residential homes can never be truly mitigated from noise unless it is completely sealed on all four sides and rooftop. This is not the case on this project. It is an open air roof and some open sides. There are several homes across a 15 foot alley, and also 35 feet across the street.

ZERO PARKING
* There is NO ACTUAL PARKING. Not even one disabled space. Paying for in lieu spaces does nothing to help the serious parking drought in Venice. Providing parking for patrons is the cost of doing business, and mandated by the Venice Specific Plan. An $18,000 in lieu fee to the city will not take those vehicles off our residential streets and make the streets safe for our families, nor will it serve to green our environment.

TRAFFIC DANGER
* Traffic is already congested in this area, all day every day. Extra car traffic this business will generate, crawling looking for parking on residential streets adds to the danger. Many families and children walk, cycle, and skateboard in this area. To add alcohol and inebriated drivers into this mix is very dangerous.

NIGHT-TIME DANGER
* We should not be deprived of the ability to park close to our own homes and be forced to park 3 to 4 blocks away at night – and worry if we will make it home safely at night. This strips our quality of life and put us in grave danger.

Councilman Bonin, I urge you to act in favor of our, the Venice community’s interests. Please back us up in preserving the sanctity and well being of our neighborhood. We have a right to peace and quiet enjoyment in our homes, and look to you for protecting our rights.

PLEASE DENY 259 HAMPTON.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME…
YOUR ADDRESS…
———————————————————————————————

LETTER #2 TO PLANNING COMMISSION:-
email:- APCwestLA@lacity.org

SUBJECT LINE:
DENY 259 HAMPTON DRIVE, VENICE … UPHOLD APPEALS: ZA-2012-1770-CDP-CUB-1A, and DIR-2010-2932-SPP-1A-REC

***AGAIN- Please personalize it as you see fit.

***Don’t forget to sign your name and address (if you are close by) at the bottom.
————————

LETTER STARTS HERE:-

Dear Commission Executive Assistant – WLAAPC,

Would you please print 15 copies of my letter to follow (for the file, 5 commission members, Planning Dept, ZA Dept, Commission Executive, and City Attorney) and distribute accordingly, in time for the April 1 re-hearing. Thank you in advance.
———–

Dear Commissioners,

I request that you uphold your decision, of January 7, 2015, to DENY the proposed bar/restaurant with full alcohol at 259 HAMPTON DRIVE, which is due for rehearing on April 1st. As you may recall, the project proposes a 2 story, open rooftop bar/restaurant WITH ZERO PARKING, 15 FEET from people’s homes. It has been operating illegally as a sit down restaurant for the past five years.

These are the reasons why this project should be DENIED AGAIN:

OVER SATURATION OF ALCOHOL
* Venice is over-saturated with alcohol licenses already. Four times the allowable limit per ABC. ABC Regulation 61.4 states that there should not be alcohol licenses approved within 100 feet of residential homes, yet this project is 15 feet from residents!

SENSITIVE ISSUES – ALCOHOL
* This project is on the same block as 2 CHURCHES and A HERITAGE LISTED SYNAGOGUE – as well as CHILD CARE and PRE-SCHOOL. This is an essential factor in the dis-allowing of alcohol per ABC, and adds concern re the density and intensification of 259 Hampton site.

INCREASED CRIME
*It is well documented that there is a direct correlation between high density of alcohol outlets and the increase in serious crime. In this census tract, there is almost four times the average crime rate for LA. The LAPD has weighed in that they DO NOT WANT ANY new alcohol licenses in Venice, and THEY ARE PARTICULARLY OPPOSING THIS APPLICATION FOR ALCOHOL AT 259 HAMPTON DRIVE. Venice may be a tourist destination to some, but to thousands of us it is our home.

NOISE NUISANCE
* A bar/restaurant within 15 feet of residential homes can never be truly mitigated from noise unless it is completely sealed on all four sides and rooftop. This is not the case on this project. It is an open air roof and some open sides. There are several homes across a 15 foot alley, and also 35 feet across the street.

ZERO PARKING
* There is NO ACTUAL PARKING. Not even one disabled space. Paying for in lieu spaces does nothing to help the serious parking drought in Venice. Providing parking for patrons is the cost of doing business, and mandated by the Venice Specific Plan. An $18,000 in lieu fee to the city will not take those vehicles off our residential streets and make the streets safe for our families, nor will it serve to green our environment.

TRAFFIC DANGER
* Traffic is already congested in this area, all day every day. Extra car traffic this business will generate, crawling looking for parking on residential streets adds to the danger. Many families and children walk, cycle, and skateboard in this area. To add alcohol and inebriated drivers into this mix is very dangerous.

NIGHT-TIME DANGER
* We should not be deprived of the ability to park close to our own homes and be forced to park 3 to 4 blocks away at night – and worry if we will make it home safely at night. This strips our quality of life and put us in grave danger.

I urge you to act in favor of our, the Venice community’s interests. Please back us up in preserving the sanctity and well being of our neighborhood. We have a right to peace and quiet enjoyment in our homes, and look to you for protecting our rights.

PLEASE DENY 259 HAMPTON AGAIN!!! Thank you.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME HERE…
YOUR ADDRESS…

OH NO!  VENICE NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL ENDORSES CAR LIFTS
AS ADDITIONAL BEACH PARKING AT VENICE BEACH!

Sign the petition & send a message to Councilman Mike Bonin “NO CAR LIFTS IN VENICE!”

Triple-high-parking-lift-1

FEB 17, 2015 Venice – In a series of resolutions and endorsements, the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) approved the addition of thirty (30) automated car lifts at the Windward Circle, Venice Beach.

At the surface parking lot located at 29-47 Windward Ave., the VNC approved the addition of 30 automated/hydraulic car lifts which will ONLY increase parking capacity from 38 to a MEASLY 68 spaces!

“The most important issue facing Venice is parking and, tonight, we helped alleviate the lack of parking right at the Windward Circle,” offered President Mike Newhouse. “This kind of NUTS (and bolts) problem-solving is at the heart of why we have grass roots representation here in Los Angeles with neighborhood councils.” (Thnx, Mike, we think it’s NUTS, too!)

THIS VOTE WILL SET A PRECEDENT FOR CAR LIFTS IN VENICE – PERIOD – IS THIS WHAT WE WANT?

30 CAR LIFTS WILL ONLY MAKE 30 EXTRA PARKING SPOTS — PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD.  LET’S STOP THIS NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

https://www.change.org/p/mike-bonin-no-car-lifts-in-venice

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


HBR_Details_Flyer[1]

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Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice — spiritofvenice.net

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9th Circuit Court of Appeals Heard Desertrain vs. City of Los Angeles; Looks Like LA City Living in Vehicle Law is Unconstitutionally Vague

December 6, 2013

VENICE RV

Pasadena CA, December 5, 2013— The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments today regarding Desertrain vs. the City of Los Angeles, a Venice Beach lawsuit.

The vagueness of Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) 85.02, the city ordinance making it illegal to habitate in a vehicle, was the main topic for the oral arguments presented by Civil Rights Attorney Carol Sobel.

LAMC 85.02 was used during a concerted Venice homeless eradication effort. This effort included a special Los Angeles Police Task Force that arrested, towed, ticketed, and threatened homeless people accused of living in a vehicle.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2010 alleging that the City of Los Angeles violated the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The case was not successful in the lower federal court, but was appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by Sobel.

The three judge panel especially questioned the enforcement criteria and lack of duration for LAMC 85.02. “The City Attorney had difficulty answering the questions posed by the judges” according to plaintiff, Steve Jacobs-Elstein.

Venice is a special coastal community historically known for the diversity of its population; a community known for acceptance and tolerance. It is home to one of the largest free clinics in the country and provides homeless services second only to the skid row area in Los Angeles.

As Venice property values continue to soar, comes an influx of newer residents who can afford million dollar buildings by the sea, and hardships increase for those who can no longer afford to be housed in the community.

Surely, with all this new wealth, better solutions can be created.

###

Justice Committee & Media Group    http://www.justice.wetnostril.net

Mark Ryavec at NOPD Coastal Commission Meeting 2010

Mark Ryavec at NOPD Coastal Commission Meeting

If you live in Venice, CA and you pay attention to local politics – you will, no doubt, eventually come across the name Mark Ryavec.  To some, he is a hero who seeks to gentrify Venice and improve it’s ‘quality of life’; while to others, he is a villain and, some might say, a bigot – who seeks to rid Venice of it’s free-spirited homeless population and install permit-parking on its streets, in an attempt to protect 24 hour street parking for residents only.  How you perceive Ryavec, the man, may depend entirely on which side of the argument you come down on.

But for those who are still straddling the fence, let’s take a look at what we know about Ryavec, the man – courtesy of Google.

To begin with, Mark Ryavec is the president of Venice Stakeholders Association – whose mission is: “dedicated to civic improvement”; and, as such, in March, 2013, filed a complaint to the Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) for an “Investigation of Ethics Violation by Linda Lucks, President of the Venice Neighborhood Council’ (a position that Ryavec has coveted for several years, having run – and lost to Linda Lucks, twice, for the position of president – in the last two local Neighborhood elections).

Ryavec is a leading proponent of Preferential Parking Districts (PPDs) in Venice and has spearheaded a movement to implement Overnight Parking Districts (OPDs) for the past several years.  Twice he, and his supporters, have lobbied the City of L.A. (COLA) and the CA Coastal Commission (CCC) for OPDs in Venice – and twice, first in 2009 and then in 2010 his efforts have been thwarted by those who prefer to keep the streets of Venice free – and open to all – in alignment with the CA Coastal Act of 1976.

In spite of his two stinging defeats at the CCC in 2009 and 2010, Ryavec has drummed up support to continue his lawsuit, started in 2010, which according to the Venice Beachhead argues that: “no Coastal Commission approval is needed in order to establish OPDs in Venice. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, although at first against Ryavec’s lawsuit, changed his mind and joined forces with Ryavec against the Coastal Commission.”

On April 16, 2013 the proposed lawsuit settlement was brought before the VNC monthly board meeting.  Ryavec and a panel of OPD supporters (Arturo Pina, District Director of CD11;  Jane Usher, Senior Advisor to the City Attorney; and Tamara Martin of LADOT) discussed the OPD settlement being proposed to CCC –

 

On October 15, 2012, according to PRnewswire, Mr. Ryavec announced his candidacy for the CD11 seat on Los Angeles City Council vacated by Bill Rosendahl.  “Formerly a legislative analyst for the City Council and chief deputy tax assessor for Los Angeles County, [Ryavec] said he is running to return the City’s focus to traditional municipal services.”

However, claiming “lackluster community and fundraising support”, Ryavec “quietly” withdrew his candidacy on November 7, 2012 stating:

“When I decided to enter this race I thought that I would be running against Councilman Bill Rosendahl.  He appeared to be confident that he would recover from the cancer that he was battling and run for a third term.

In the end, as we have seen, he has continued to improve but also made the prudent decision to focus on his health and not run.

In very short order, Bill endorsed his deputy Mike Bonin and Bonin immediately announced his candidacy, released the names of a whole passel of campaign co-chairs and endorsements from senior Democratic party elected officials and then reported that he had raised over $50,000 in nine days.  As a former political consultant myself, I have to say, “Well played, Mike.”

Later, on February 8, 2013, Ryavec endorsed former City prosecutor of 25 years, Tina Hess, in the CD11 race, presumably in the hope that Hess would carry on the fight to rid Venice of its homeless population.  As it turned out, Rosendahl’s deputy, Mike Bonin, won the race hands down; and we have yet to see if he will follow in Rosendahl’s footsteps, policy-wise.

Previous to these recent political sorties, Ryavec was always very verbal on the issue of (not) helping the homeless.  For example, on June 17, 2012 he brought a motion before the VNC to step up police enforcement of city codes aimed at homeless people living on Venice streets.

 

Earlier, on May 17, 2012, he had posted this article on Venice Patch: “Food Giveaways on Venice Beach Enable Status Quo, Ineffective at Helping People Get into Housing” – arguing that feeding hungry people was not a constitutionally protected activity and only served to encourage homeless people to stay in Venice.  Ryavec omits to acknowledge that there is no affordable housing available for homeless people – which is why many remain on the streets.

On March 3, 2012, in an article about a proposed ferris wheel at Venice Beach (opposed by many Venetians), the LAIST reported Ryavec (who never misses an opportunity to push his agenda) as stating: “the wheel could grant Venice the chance to apply with the Coastal Commission for 24-hour preferential parking permits for beach-adjacent residents.”

Ryavec always, it would seem, a law unto himself, has spearheaded a number of attacks on what he considers to be ‘blight’ on the streets of Venice, namely homeless people sleeping on sidewalks and living in vehicles.  And, in April 2012, to get back at those sympathetic to the homeless dilemma, he published a list of names and home addresses of 11 activists, journalists and politicians “who he said shouldn’t mind having the homeless set up tents and sleeping bags outside their doors because they had expressed sympathy for them.”  In fact, he even offered $20 to any homeless person who would set up camp outside their homes.

Back in the summer of 2010, Ryavec started his own personal campaign to rid Venice streets of RVs by lobbying hard “for permit-parking zones that would have locked out many RV dwellers” and claiming “The left here in Venice doesn’t want to see any rules… ’Keep Venice free’ and all this crap. They think there’s something romantic about people living in RVs. This is a marginal existence.”  And, for those unable to afford the high rents in Venice and most of Los Angeles, the only existence they can afford.

yv

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Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice — spiritofvenice.net

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Bill Rosendahl

From Councilman Rosendahl:

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, we have a crisis of homelessness in this nation, and it is particularly acute in Los Angeles and in Venice. In recent weeks, with encampments in Venice growing, the community dialogue has become heated. Some people have spread distorted or false information, and then demanded action based upon such misinformation, complicating the City’s efforts to find solutions to our shared problems.

In order to clear the air, share accurate information, and shed some light, my staff has compiled a FAQ (frequently asked questions) about the situation:

What is going on with the encampments in Venice?

Over the past year, encampments of people in bedrolls, tents, or cardboard boxes began to proliferate in Venice, mostly along Ocean Front Walk. Many of the people were down on their luck, and homeless. Fortunately, many of them availed themselves of the Emergency Winter Shelter program and connected with social service programs. Others were younger transients, living “off the grid” and on the streets. Still others suffered from alcoholism, addiction, or mental illness; many refused social services that provide housing and treatment.

In February, when the Los Angeles Police Department and the Department of Recreation & Parks began enforcing a curfew at Venice Beach, a number of encampments began springing up on or around Third Avenue in Venice, mostly between Sunset and Rose Avenues. A few encampments have recently emerged on the median of Venice Boulevard, near the Abbot Kinney Memorial Library.

The City has sought to strike a balanced approach: provide help to those who need and want it – and to enforce all applicable laws to protect quality of life.

What is the City doing about the encampments?

Despite the claims of certain activists, the City has taken consistent, strong and multiple measures to deal with the encampments. We have stepped up law enforcement with the LAPD. We have increased street cleanings with the Bureau of Street Services and other agencies. We have increased social services through People Assisting the Homeless and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).

What has LAPD done?

Under the supervision of Captain Jon Peters and his staff, the LAPD’s approach has been tough but measured, aggressive yet fair. Since February, officers have made more than 100 arrests for a variety of offenses, from outstanding warrants to drug charges to violent crime. LAPD is working closely with city prosecutors to ensure cases are as strong as possible to stand up in court.

What sort of clean-ups have been conducted?

The City has directed multiple and repeated clean-ups of the Third Avenue area, removing trash and abandoned materials, disposing of and cleaning up after human waste, and removing bulky item materials. The most recent large-scale clean-up was conducted Friday, April 27. Further clean-ups will happen, and on a regular basis.

So, why are so many people still sleeping on Third Avenue, and why is it such a mess?

Due to two court cases, the Jones case and the Lavan case, the City’s ability to enforce its laws has been significantly restricted:

On October 15, 2007, the City entered into a legally binding settlement, agreeing not to enforce the law prohibiting sleeping on the streets, between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. until it builds 1,250 units of permanent supportive housing. The City entered this agreement after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Lawyers Guild (Jones v. City of Los Angeles), found that the law against sleeping on the streets amounted to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the 8th Amendment, noting there were thousands more homeless people in L.A. County than there were shelter beds. This applies citywide, meaning it is currently lawful for people to sleep on the sidewalks at night.

In a separate case, Lavan v. City of Los Angeles, last year, ACLU attorney Carol Sobel, the Los Angeles Community Action Network, and the Los Angeles Catholic Worker obtained a restraining order, prohibiting the City from seizing or destroying property from homeless camps in downtown’s Skid Row. This means the City can only remove abandoned property. If someone claims that items in the streets are their personal belongings, the City cannot remove those items without risk of legal repercussions. The City is currently appealing this decision.

I heard the City has built enough beds to satisfy the Jones settlement and you can make it illegal to sleep on the streets again. True or false?

That is not true — yet. The settlement says the City “will keep this policy in effect and operate according to this policy until an additional 1250 units of permanent supportive housing are constructed within the City of Los Angeles, at least 50 per cent of which are located in Skid Row and/or greater downtown Los Angeles.” According to the Los Angeles Housing Department, the City needs to construct several hundred more units before it meets the requirements of the settlement.

The Lavan case does not apply in Venice, so why are the streets not cleaned up?

Many of the same people who won the Lavan injunction downtown are seeking to make it apply citywide, and are preparing legal action against the City to accomplish that. Overly aggressive action could backfire, and make it harder to clean up encampments. The City Attorney’s office is strongly cautioning Bureau of Street Services to proceed carefully, and has crafted guidelines and a protocol to make sure clean-ups in Venice and other areas of the City do not have unforeseen legal complications, including a citywide injunction against removing encampments.

So, what CAN the City do?

The LAPD can and will continue to enforce existing laws. Sleeping on the sidewalks is not permitted during the day. Blocking the sidewalks and impeding the public right of way is not permitted.

The City will also conduct periodic clean-ups of the encampment areas, using a protocol being devised by the City Attorney’s office. We will have more flexibility in removing materials from or near encampments if those sleeping on the streets have a safe and secure place to store their belongings.

I am also pleased to report that County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has agreed to help assign teams of personnel from the Department of Mental Health to work with local social service providers to assist those living in encampments. A similar outreach program in Westchester Park a few weeks ago was very successful.

Why is the City allowing people to operate feeding programs on Venice Beach?

The Ninth Circuit Court has ruled that people or organizations have a First Amendment right to distribute free food. During litigation over the assignment and regulation of public space on Venice Beach’s Ocean Front Walk, the court insisted that the City set aside two spaces on Ocean Front Walk for food distribution. We are legally required to do that, and I support programs that feed hungry people during one of the worst economic recessions in our nation’s history.

What has the Councilman done about homelessness?

Since taking office in 2005, finding solutions to homelessness has been my passion. Some of my specific actions include:

* Securing funds to hire PATH, which has found permanent housing for more than 30 individuals who were living in their cars or RVs in Venice.
* Securing funding last year for the only early emergency winter shelter program in the county. Expanded the number of beds, setting some aside especially for homeless youth.
* Providing $400,000 in federal block grant monies so Upward Bound House could convert a motel on the Culver City/Mar Vista border into housing for homeless families.
* Supporting New Directions, Inc. in converting a house in Del Rey into a home for returning veterans of Iraq and Aghanistan.
* Joining Santa Monica Councilman Bobby Shriver in repeatedly lobbying the VA and the federal government to step up efforts to house homeless vets on the VA’s West LA campus.
* Supporting and securing nearly $1 million in federal block grant funds for the 1736 Family Crisis Center, which operates a youth shelter project for at-risk, runaway, and homeless adolescents.
* Supporting an affordable senior housing project in Del Rey, being built by developer Tom Safran.
* Supporting, allocating funds to, and finding a location for Stand up for Kids, which provides food, clothing and support to runaway and homeless young people.
* Securing $750,000 for Venice Community Housing Corporation’s permanent supportive housing facility at 15 Horizon.

What else do you plan on doing about homelessness?

I am currently working with LAHSA and civic-minded local residents to identify a location and funding for an emergency transitional housing facility on the Westside. I am also encouraging proposals from private and non-profit developers to build permanent supportive or affordable housing in the 11th District.

I keep hearing that the LAPD feels there is much more they can do to make our neighborhoods cleaner and safer and crack down on the encampments – but that you are forbidding them from doing so.

This is absolutely, patently false – and has been refuted, repeatedly, by Chief Charlie Beck and Captain Peters. My office and I vigorously support and encourage the LAPD to enforce the law. Captain Peters and I are in contact almost daily (and sometimes several times per day). We consider each other to be partners. I support him, his team, and his smart, measured enforcement of the law. Since February, LAPD has made more than 100 arrests or citations on Third Avenue. I’ve fought for more resources and flexibility for Captain Peters and his team, and he and Chief Beck will confirm that.

Is there anything else the public can do to help the LAPD?

Yes. Promptly reporting all crime to the LAPD is paramount. Property owners near encampments can also work with LAPD and install security cameras with recording devices. LAPD is also strongly encouraging residents to leave the enforcement to the LAPD and not take vigilante action.

What can you say about the angry feelings between Venetians over this issue?

We need less finger-pointing, less anger, and more of a cooperative spirit of good will. We cannot shout or accuse our way out of a problem; we need to work together, thoughtfully, as neighbors with a desire for a better community.

Addressing this problem requires a balanced approach. Some people insist we need more law enforcement. Others demand social services. We need both. We must secure public safety and preserve neighborhood quality of life – while respecting the law and the rights of people who do not have homes. We must help homeless people who need and want help – without enabling homelessness itself.

The question should not be: should we allow people to sleep on the streets? The question must be: how do we provide people housing, services, and shelter so no one has cause to sleep on the street?

Regards,

Bill