Posts Tagged ‘Free Speech at the Beach’

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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On Tuesday February 28, 2012, 3rd Avenue between Sunset and Rose was closed off for almost seven hours (2:30 – 9:00 pm) while hordes of LAPD personnel scoured the area for a “drug suspect” who got away.  Coincidentally, 3rd Avenue happens to be the location where a large group of homeless people congregate at night to sleep on the sidewalk between the hours of 9:00 pm and 6:00 am.  The street closure and presence of dozens of police personnel was attributed to a “criminal investigation” following an alleged drug bust gone awry.

At the peak of this “investigation” there were 10-12 patrol cars, 1 large LAPD operations vehicle, several undercover LAPD cars, half a dozen detectives, a host of officials coming and going, a helicopter overhead, circling 3rd Avenue (and no further) for almost 4 hours; and Fox 11 news !!!

If that isn’t overkill we don’t know what is. Capt. Peters was overheard stating that the same treatment would apply if a civilian had been attacked – we think not.

Why LAPD over-reacted to this incident may never be known but word on the street is that two undercover officers tried to set up a drug deal on 3rd with the suspect, who got away, after being tasered twice and scuffling with the uniformed officers called to the scene.

Rumors were rife on the street that the suspect was shot and killed by officers or, shot himself. Fortunately, to the best of our knowledge, nobody was killed and the officers were not badly injured.

But, this question remains: is this a reasonable use of our tax dollars?

Almost immediately, an anonymous email was circulated on the internet linking the “suspect” with the homeless people who sleep on 3rd, accusing them of being “drug addicts and criminals”:

“Date: Wed, 29 Feb 2012 13:50:10 -0800
Subject: Venice Beach
From: newegg@mindspring.com
To: Charlie.Beck@lapd.lacity.org; 25811@lapd.lacity.org; mayor@lacity.org; larry.frank@lacity.org
CC: jon.peters@lapd.lapd.lacity.org; councilman.rosendahl@lacity.org; Arturo.Pino@lacity.org

To all those who may be concerned:
” This is what happens when drug addicts and criminals are given a free place to stay by the beach”.  It appears that our Councilman and folks in this city have given a higher priority to social services rather than to the safety of our community. What we have noticed is a lawlessness that seems to be allowed to continue at the expense of our safety here in Venice Beach. This is destroying our way of life here in Venice. The City Council’s political decisions unfortunately appear to be allowing this to continue.  Please reconsider this political problem.

Thank you”

This type of message only exacerbates the problem by falsely implicating homeless people as “drug addicts and criminals”.  The person who wrote this email obviously makes broad assumptions based on limited information.  Like the person who stood on the corner of Rose and 3rd during the “investigation” claiming that an officer had been stabbed – another assumption that proved to be untrue. People who spread inaccurate information to incite anger and hatred are like people who throw stones in glass houses – sure to crack.

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

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- Diane Butler - Gone But Not Forgotten -

Dear friend, sister, artist, and good spirit, Diane Butler, has spread her wings and is now flying with the angels.

We love you Diane, your (he)art lives on in the Spirit of Venice.   Peace and Blessings, SOV

This Sunday, Feb 19, is the memorial for Diane Butler beginning at 7am continuing until 5pm at the 3 palm trees on the west side of Venice Boardwalk across from the Venice Bistroclose to Dudley Ave intersection.

Also, the Venice Beach Drum Orchestra of which Diane was an original member will begin playing music at noon and in between sets people will be permitted to speak on the mic.

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

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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.

Sign our petition here:

https://www.change.org/petitions/the-governor-of-ca-restore-24-hr-access-to-california-beaches

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

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No names mentioned but the inexorable “Energized Bunny” – Ms. T (currently surviving on food stamps and police handouts) – is first with the scoop on Ocean Front Walk “developments”.

The latest news from our tireless bunny is that the police and city attorney are ramping up to enforce not only the newly amended LAMC 42.15 that proposes to regulate vending on OFW, but also close OFW from midnight to 5:00 am, since it has recently been declared part of “The Park”.

According to Ms. T, the police have declared that “The Park”, consisting of OFW from Navy St. to Washington Blvd., will be closed between midnight and 5:00 am and anyone in “The Park” will be warned and then cited if they stay in the park beyond midnight. This also means that those homeless people who sleep on the edge of OFW; and those local residents who like to take a late night/early morning stroll down OFW, will no longer be able to do so.

The police have been in training, getting ready to enforce LAMC 42.15, which will begin around January 20, once the new signs are posted. This will also coincide with the enforcement of the midnight – 5:00 am curfew on OFW.

The inclusion of OFW as part of the park and the new park hours came as a surprise to most. Not least, members of Venice Neighborhood Council, which had made recommendations to the city in connection with the ordinance.  The VNC can’t do anything without Board action but they can take emergency action to address concerns by residents living close to OFW, who are complaining that this planned enforcement will limit where and when they can walk their dog, take a stroll in the midnight air, or simply step across OFW to reach the beach. Some complain that the homeless people, now sleeping beside OFW will be diverted onto Speedway, closer to residential areas, with the potential for creating “problems”.

So far, the Coastal Commission has not been discussed, and may have not been consulted, as they could present a possible roadblock to the plan. According to the California Coastal Act of 1976, the public should have 24 hour access to the beaches. As recently as November 2010, L.A. Times reported that the California Coastal Commission is challenging “beach curfews established by cities up and down the coast, saying they are illegal without state approval and that people have a right to be on the sand whenever they want.” http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/18/local/la-me-beach-curfew-20101117.

The L.A. Times article by Tony Barboza quotes Coastal Commission Executive Director Peter Douglas: “There are a lot of people who want to use the beach, which they have a constitutional right to do, in the middle of the night…You don’t preclude the public from that use without a good justification — a good reason — and we have to be able to look at that.”

Barboza goes on to say: “The new push is likely to renew debate over coastal access, with beach cities arguing that the curfews are needed to ward off late-night crime on the sand. Coastal Commission officials argue that crime has dropped significantly in the last decade while demand for time on the beach has increased.

City officials in Los Angeles said they had no intention of weakening a curfew that’s been on the books for decades. The city attorney’s office said that the curfew was meant to deter crime and that the state didn’t have the authority to challenge the statute.

Los Angeles’ curfew is well-known to people who have enjoyed an evening bonfire at Dockweiler State Beach by LAX or a moonlit walk in Venice only to have it cut short.

Enforcement of the curfew, however, may be inconsistent with the law.

Lifeguards told The Times that they started clearing the sand and surf at 10 p.m., two hours earlier than stipulated in the city’s 1988 ordinance.”

Residents and visitors alike will be impacted by this new development on OFW, and it may turn out that the Coastal Commission will have to step up and step in to protect public access to our coastal areas, yet again.

Please sign our petition:  https://www.change.org/petitions/the-governor-of-ca-restore-24-hour-access-to-california-beaches


Who was the REAL monster, Halloween 2011? Why, it was Bank of America – a very greedy monster that consumes people’s homes and everything they own!

Not only that, BofA is a dirty, greedy monster that invests in tar-sand coal – one of the dirtiest energy sources around.

A group of Venice activists gathered outside the Bank of America on Halloween, Oct. 31 2011 to protest BofA’s extortionate bank fees and their dirty energy investments – like tar-sands coal.

If you have $$$ in the BofA it’s time to transfer them to a people’s bank – like a credit union and start making ethical choices with your $$$.

****PRE-BANK TRANSFER DAY DEMONSTRATION OUTSIDE VENICE BANK OF AMERICA:

Friday November 4 – 4:30-6:00 pm

IT’S TIME TO TAKE YOUR $$$ OUT OF BANK OF AMERICA!
… … …
NOT ONE MORE DOLLAR!

RAINFOREST ACTION NETWORK (RAN) SAYS: PLEDGE TO STOP DOING BUSINESS WITH BofA – http://ran.org/boapledge?track=homepage

 

Occupy Venice started at Windward Circle on Main Street in Venice, CA opposite our historic post office on Sunday, October 9, 2011 ~ John Lennon’s birthday ~ on the same day there were “Occupy” groups in over 800 cities around the world.

Now is the time to come together…and make our voices heard! If not now ~ when?

Come, join us at Occupy Venice!

OCCUPY VENICE MISSION STATEMENT

We stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall St and for all of the events springing up across the country.  As we’ve seen occupy unfold through facebook, twitter, and the various live feeds across the internet, volunteers in Venice wanted to build a site that would help spread the word as more protests organize across the world. We hope to provide people with information about events that are organizing, ongoing, and building across the U.S. as we, the 99%, take action against the greed and corruption of the 1%.

We will only grow stronger in our solidarity and we will be heard, not just in New York, but in echoes across the world.

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

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Mrs “B” is VERY PRIVATE AND RESERVED 80-something homeless woman –who, until recently –has lived quietly in our Venice Beach Community.

In recent years, however, her and her dog’s only affordable housing, any longer available in Venice Beach, CA –has been her RV.

And this week, LAPD –busily now doing militaristic sweeps of the Tourist Boardwalk  to shut it down, as a diverse place for LA residents –has finally started now even terrorizing her.

Mrs. “B.” suffers from cancer –and is under constant care at Kasier Hospital, West Los Angeles –and, horrifically, has become increasing isolated, confused and fearful in recent years; as the “Leaders” in the only home she has known for decades, Venice Beach,  seems to not  even care about her on-going homeless plight.

Or be able to find her the basic human right to housing in her home community, Venice Beach.

Moreover, in the last weeks –on top of this –as part of the LAPD sweeps of homeless people in this area, she is now in the midst of her most hellish nightmare: One of community hate, agency shuffles –and  vicious LAPD  officer threats, catering disgustingly to   the anti-homeless hate-campaign of “Yo Venice,” “Venice 311,” and KFI radio –demanding that she “must” leave the Venice area.

Last week, she was moved by direct orders of  LAPD officers (including a Captain) from her quiet, un-obtrusive parking on Washington Blvd (on a side street behind a commercial district) to supposedly, a safe spot in front of WCIL on Venice Blvd. near Beethovan.

Before that, she had parked for years near the deserted, empty, 700 units of ghost-housing at Lincoln Place: and was befriended by the few that hang on in that attacked affordable-housing community –until cops demanded, in recent times that she leave.

Now, a service agency demanded that she submit to being  moved by them across county, away from Venice, and her doctors and last friends  –to Montrose: In the last few days, on top of this, insensitive homeless-haters in this location (picked for her by the LAPD) next complained to LAPD, who next demanded that she now move from parking in front of WCIL.

Without giving her any new safe option.

Nor will WCIL allow her to park in their large, empty, parking lot.

Totally bereft –Mrs. B., abandoned by ALL, is back on Washington Blvd.  –and terrified that at any minute now the LAPD is coming back.

–Why are agencies like PATH not recognizing her human right to housing in her community –Venice Beach:  And standing up, right now, for her right to remain here?

—-Why have so many in this community allowed St. Joesph’s center to been continually harrassed  and denounced for their blessed and long-dogged commitment to helping the homeless, like her, here?

–Why is the LAPD now constantly getting away with just callously terrorizing this woman with fake promises and threats? The California Constitution demands that care of the aged and indigent is a County Official’s direct responsibility –will it take a State Marshall’s supena for the arrest of some County officials (for ignoring the plight of thousands in LA County, like Mrs. “B”)  before they stop ignoring this raging campaign of hate against the homeless –in now money-and-hate-dominated Venice Beach Los Angeles?

–Most outrageously, nobody from Councilman Rosendahl’s staff seems to have found any  time yet –to find out  this long-time, 80-year-old Venice  resident’s, minor restroom, and transportation, and other basic human needs —-for inclusion in the “Streets to Homes” program.  This; while Rosendahl refuses to stand up against the haters, and LAPD, and Chief Charles Beck, and Captain Peters: who, as a disgustingly combined monster, in our community, are now in full-tilt plot to terrorize this woman.

Please contact these officials on behalf of this woman and the others now being thrown aside under Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendal’s “Carrot and Stick” hate campaign against the community’s homeless.

David Busch

Capt. Peters Comforts RV Dweller Darlene Knoll

While LAPD officers hassle, harass and harangue the homeless on Venice beach, stealing their meager possessions and tossing them into sanitation trucks, as they did at 3:00 am on the morning of Friday, May 13, 2011 –LAPD Captain Peters appears to have a soft spot for Darlene Knoll, a long-time Venice resident RV dweller.

A disabled paraplegic artist of color was ordered to get up and leave the area. As he struggled to climb into his wheelchair, his lifeless legs dragging on the ground, the LAPD officer told him that if he didn’t move faster he would confiscate all his possessions. The artist continued to struggle but was unable to comply with the officer’s demands quickly enough. He watched in despair as the officer STOLE his bag of painting materials (his very livelihood) and threw them into the waiting sanitation truck. 

While Peters leads the charge against people living in their vehicles and sleeping on the beach, he shows what appears to be a rare moment of sympathy and comfort to Darlene –who was threatened repeatedly with arrest by LAPD officers –for documenting the arrests of poor people and the towing of their vehicles during the police sweep of RVs in Venice over the 2010 Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season.

Abbott Kinney, Founder of Venice of America, July 4, 1905

More often than not, though, Capt. Peters dances to the tune of an elite group of Venice residents who call themselves “Venice Stakeholders Association (VSA)”; whose prime motive appears to be the gentrification of Venice and the destruction of the time-honored free “Spirit of Venice” that has drawn millions of visitors to Venice Beach, California, over the decades, since Abbott Kinney first created his visionary “Venice of America” city out of coastland marshes.

Back in the day, Venice was a place where people came from all over America and the world –to have fun, let off steam and express themselves, as in the case of prominent civil rights leader, feminist Susan B. Anthony; who is reported to have expressed her political views from the west side of Venice beach boardwalk in the area now known as the “Free Speech Zone”.   This tradition has continued to the present time, peaking in the 1990s when artists, entertainers, performers, religious, ideological and political “expressionists” proliferated in the Free Speech Zone.  In recent years the City of Los Angeles has succeeded in turning this once expressive Free Speech Zone into more of a swap meet ambiance by condoning vending of mass-produced trinkets and bric-a-brac that carry little or no intrinsic “free speech” message.

Venice Canals During the 1930s Oil Boom

The community’s tie to the story of the free speech zone continued into the 1930s; Venice property values depreciated dramatically when the oil boom hit the coastal area, continuing into the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

In the late 1950s and 1960s beats and hippies moved to Venice, congregating in coffee shops and low-cost housing. Another history was made, now firmly establishing a tradition of free expression that has carried over to present times.  Young travelers hitch hiked from all over America drawn to the creative freedom of Venice beach; Houseless people found a home on the beach; alternative lifestyle denizens, dubbed “rubber tramps”, parked their RVs and vans on public streets; displaying their artistic creations in the Free Speech Zone.  Long-time residents of Venice, originally drawn by the 1930’s oil boom and the subsequent low property values, learned to live side by side with their eclectic new mobile neighbors, establishing a relationship built upon tolerance and goodwill; further promoting the ambiance of expressive freedom that has historically made Venice what it is.

Venice thereby accommodated low-income and poor people for decades, while neighboring cities like Santa Monica and Marina Del Rey pushed development. Then, in 1976 the California Coastal Act was created –to protect over-development of California coastal areas, subsequently restricting rapid development in Venice, which had lagged behind its more affluent neighbors.  Consequently, Venice continued, through the 1970s and 1980s, to offer affordable accommodation to residents and travelers alike.

Moving forward into the 1990s, Venice continued to attract low-income residents and travelers, thanks to the California Coastal Commission that had created the Coastal Act — and this, together with the Mello Act, a California State Law that requires all development within the coastal zone (1 mile from the coast) to include affordable housing. In 1998, POWER member group Venice Community Housing Corporation, along with other neighborhood associations, sued the City of Los Angeles for not enforcing the Mello Act. In 2001, this group won a settlement –forcing local developers to either set aside 20% of their units as low-income housing or 10% of their units as very low-income housing.

Throuhout, the Venice tradition of serving low-income and poor people was sustained until approximately the year 2000; when the last oil well in Venice (1965-2000) was removed from the beach at Windward Avenue, and its monstrous decoy, the Venice pavilion, was demolished, opening the door to rapid development and gentrification of what had, until then, become a haven for low-income and poor people.

Fast forward now to the present time –as eager developers and corporate entities prepare for the final takeover of what many consider to be the last bastion of freedom on the west coast of California, and possibly the whole of the USA, Venice Beach.  The “people’s beach” — a place where visitors and residents alike enjoy an ambiance of freedom, fun and expression.  Recent attempts by Los Angeles city and Venice gentrifiers to curtail these freedoms, aided by increased police numbers, activity and enforcement, are, today, threatening the very ambiance that makes Venice “Venice”.

Unsubstantiated claims of increased criminal activity in Venice, promoted by mainstream media –and those with a vested interest in gentrifying Venice –have unfairly portrayed the houseless community, young travelers, and people of color as the primary cause.  These houseless, young travelers and people of color, both resident and visitor alike, are now daily targeted by LAPD officers for selective enforcement scrutiny, resulting in an overflowing congestion of the Los Angeles courts and jails.  These houseless and vehicle dwellers are under constant threat of criminal prosecution as the City of Los Angeles continues its heartless persecution of the poor.

Go here to sign our petition:

LAPD: STOP YOUR NEWEST CAMPAIGN AGAINST L.A.’s HOMELESS – ILLEGALLY SEIZING THEIR POSSESSIONS

Many say, however, that Venice will always now be Venice.  And many of those are seen, today, to be taking new actions in that direction.

Their call –against the gentrifiers: Keep Venice Venice!

Diverse, Open and Free!!!

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

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Stay in Touch with the Spirit of Venice ~ www.spiritofvenice.net
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On Tuesday, April 12, 2011 the Venice Neighborhood Council voted in favor of the amended LAMC 85.11, as presented by Councilman Rosendahl, staff and a PATH representative. It was after 11:00 pm that the final vote was taken following a long evening of discussion and emotional community commentary.

The addition of Penmar golf course parking lot to the new ordinance upset residents in the Penmar area, who complained that they had not been consulted on the plan to place 8 PATH program participants (vehicle dwellers) in the Penmar golf course parking lot, as part of the overnight “safe-parking” (safe from police harassment!) program proposed by Rosendahl back in September 2010.

This vote may or may not have any bearing on how the final LAMC 85.11 reads, given the fact that the city council has the last word.