Posts Tagged ‘boardwalk’

BONIN’S B.I.D. BUDDIES — CARL LAMBERT AND MARK SOKOL

 

From MichaelKohlhaas.org:

I reported a couple of weeks ago that as late as two months ago, Mike Bonin aide Debbie Dyner Harris had refused to tell Becky Dennison of Venice Community Housing the names of the three members of the Board of Directors of the Venice Beach Property Owners Association. Dyner Harris even sent an email to shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine asking for permission to share the names, which Devine evidently didn’t give, because Dyner Harris didn’t give up the names. Well, I’ve been asking CD11 for the names as well, and after a long three weeks, for whatever reason, Debbie Dyner Harris emailed me this morning and told me that the Board of Directors presently consists of Steve Heumann, Carl Lambert, and Mark Sokol.

Steve Heumann was not a surprise, as his name appears as agent for service of process on the POA’s registration with the State.1 But the other two are of great interest indeed. I recently wrote about how Carl Lambert’s campaign contributions to Mike Bonin and Eric Garcetti probably violated City campaign finance laws, but that argument wouldn’t fly if he weren’t on the Board. Since he is, I’ll be reporting him to the City Ethics Commission in the next few days.

But Mark Sokol’s case is even more fascinating. Recall that the POA has been meeting with the City about the BID at least since September 2014. Well, take a look at all of Sokol’s contributions since then. They add up to $10,750. The output of the City’s database lists each contribution separately, but here are the totals:

Mark Sokol’s Campaign Contributions Since September 2014
Recipient Total contributions
Paul Krekorian $350
Mike Bonin $700
Felipe Fuentes $700
Marqueece Harris-Dawson $700
Jose Huizar $700
Nury Martinez $700
David E. Ryu $700
Curren Price $1,200
Gilbert Cedillo $1,400
Paul Koretz $1,400
Ron Galperin $2,200

 

It is shocking. I’m not going to reiterate the reasons that this is almost certainly illegal, but they’re worth reading. Later tonight I will publish a letter that I’ll be sending to the nine remaining Councilmembers2 who took Sokol’s money asking them to recuse themselves from the upcoming vote on the Venice Beach BID ordinance version 2.0.3 And all the money to Galperin?  Well, the Controller is meant to audit BIDs, and they have done in the past. They mostly refuse to these days,4 but how’s Sokol supposed to know that? Or maybe it’s something else nefarious.

In any case, I’ve noted before that the City Charter, at Section 470 gives the purpose of Municipal Campaign Finance laws:

The purpose of this section is to encourage a broader participation in the political process and to avoid corruption or the appearance of corruption in city decision making, and protect the integrity of the City’s procurement and contract processes by placing limits on the amount any person may contribute or otherwise cause to be available to candidates for election to the offices of Mayor, City Attorney, Controller and City Council and promote accountability to the public by requiring disclosure of campaign activities and imposing other campaign restrictions.

Carl Lambert’s contributions to Mike Bonin and Eric Garcetti were bad enough with respect to corruption or the appearance of corruption, but Mark Sokol’s more than $10,000 spent just since the BID formation process began is unconscionable. Stay tuned

and this…

2014 VBBID Emails Reveal, Among Other Things, That Bonin Staffer Debbie Dyner Harris Was On Venice Beach BID Steering Committee Since 2014 Despite Consistent Denials of City Involvement In Formation Process

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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.

AKDeed-canals-1

AKDeed-canals-2

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

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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Cops close in on RV at night in Venice - Thanksgiving 2010

Cops close in on RV at night in Venice during sweeps in 2010

Since last night (Friday, April 19 2013), two uniformed LAPD officers –have been escorting a 5-person film crew around Venice; intentionally harassing homeless people and people in vehicles and others –and then extensively filming it.

For example, they woke up several homeless people near the Boardwalk last night for some pretty flimsy pretexts–just to get a rise out of disturbed homeless people on camera, it seems to people who’ve seen it now several times –and even experienced it themselves:

With blinding lights in their eyes –and cameras shoved into their confused faces!

For no rational, or official good policing reason –and yet with these police officers now seemingly ordering it!

Additionally, they somehow got some mysterious complaint lodged with the police that one particular law-abiding female homeless person’s RV here in Venice last night –parked on Rose –was “leaking” into the street last night.

They banged on her door; with cops, lights and cameras –and used it as a pretext to stick the cameras inside her RV last night –as, supposedly, all part of this spontaneous new police “investigation” by these two officers –to catch this poor homeless woman all upset and woke up and frightened and confused for this film crew inside her RV –and then, oh wonder of wonders, determined that “opps” well, no, there was nothing “leaking” into the street from outside her RV anyway.

Then, after getting all kinds of shots of this middle aged homeless woman here in Venice all flustered and such for the cameras in her RV –then the LAPD Officers told her, “Oh, hey, nothing to worry about after all –casuse we aren’t going to ticket you for leaking! So just forget about all this Lady, we’re the LAPD –no worries!”

You can go back to sleep now! and just forget about this!

I personally tracked some of this film crew down today on the Boardwalk; and I myself personally witnessed while they were filming an almost staged outburst of this gadfly from out of Venice –know as “Zuma Dog” –saying that “police should be shot for harrassing the homeless;” as he stood next to a bunch of local homeless, and appeared to be pretending for the cameras to be a part of this shocked local homeless group, that didn’t even know who this “Zuma Dog” guy was!

The crew I spoke to in the midst of this –denied it was staged –but claims that they are filming a pilot that they are “pitiching” to the “Travel Channel.” And they have two LAPD officers they seem to be following. But they wouldn’t tell me much more. So does anybody know anything about this? They seem like they are going to be doing this –harrassing, and entrapping the homeless around here with police escort; and staging such aweful stuff –for at least couple more days here.

This all seems pretty outrageous.

Might we all meet this week –to formulate a community response to this uglyness now being done here against our homeless –for these TV cameras?

Sincerely,

David Busch

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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

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

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An interview on KPFK’s “Uprising” with Sonali Kolhatkar

Residents and activists in Venice beach say police are harassing community members and the homeless as a new wave of gentrification hits the city, best known for its eclectic beach-loving population. Last Wednesday dozens of homeless people lost their personal belongings when the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation, in cooperation with the LA Police Department, raided a homeless encampment at Third Street between Rose and Sunset Avenues in Venice Beach. Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl said the city was conducting a “sanitation action” that was only meant to sweep up abandoned property.

The homeless disagree, and say their personal items, including prescription medications, wallets, and clothing, were indiscriminately collected and immediately dumped into garbage trucks. Adding to the outrage of the community is a feeling of betrayal, because police began directing the homeless to the Third Street encampment when the city began enforcing a no camping ordinance on the boardwalk, which displaced many homeless individuals. Venice residents from the Oakwood neighborhood and others also report an increase in community members being ticketed by police for small infractions, such as not having the fence around a home properly painted.

GUESTS: David Busch, an activist with the Spirit of Venice Coalition, Maria Fitzsimmons, and organizer with People Organized for Westside Renewal, or POWER, and Kendra Moore, a POWER leader and president of the Holiday Venice Tenant Action Committee Visit http://www.power-la.org for more information.

There will a direct action training in relation to the Venice area activism on April 14-15, 2012. For more information, visit http://www.99spring.com.