Posts Tagged ‘Oakwood’

Very creative video to be presented at the CA Coastal Commission TODAY – Friday June 13 – thank you to the Venice Coalition to Preserve Community Character (VCPUCC) and film maker Xaime Casillas for speaking out about Hyper-Gentrification in Venice Beach (stay tuned) –

Please Attend Coastal Commission Meeting Jun 13th, 2014

Venice Needs You!

Please attend the monthly Coastal Commission Meeting at Huntington Beach City Hall on Friday June 13 at 9am to OPPOSE EIGHT DEMOLITIONS and one restaurant project.

The current Coastal Commission meeting agenda is online

Go to the link , scroll down to Friday. It’s a three day agenda: Wednesday – Friday. Venice is on Friday at 9am, which is the last day of the meeting and at the bottom of the agenda.

Each Venice item has a link to the Coastal Commission staff report and each one has the Coastal Permit application number.

ALSO, please WRITE AN OPPOSITION EMAIL RIGHT NOW (sample letter below) and send it to Charles Posner at

Points to bring and make the Coastal Commission aware of:

CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act, defines cumulative impacts as “two or more individual effects which, when considered together, are considerable.” (State CEQA Guidelines Section 15355)

Venice is approximately 1 % of the Los Angeles population, yet has 19% of the developments.

These demolitions are cumulatively destroying the existing Venice community and the rebuilding is out of mass, out of scale, out of character, and obviously only for the wealthy to buy or live in.

It is a violation of CEQA to approve one more demolition in Venice without demanding a study consisting of: Parking, Traffic, Historic Preservation, Community Character, and the Mello Act replacement of affordable housing.

Coastal Act Sec 30624.7 The new developments have adverse effect both individually and cumulatively, because they are not consistent with the existing community character.

Coastal Act Sec 30116 (E) & (F) Venice Coastal Zone community is a sensitive coastal resource area with special communities and neighborhoods which are significant as a visitor destination and also provide existing coastal housing and recreational opportunities for low and moderate income persons.

Coastal Act Sec 30253 (E) This type of over development maximizes adverse impacts, instead of minimizing them and the city planning is doing nothing to protect the unique characteristics of the Venice Coastal Zone.

Coastal Act Sec 30212 (2) & (3) New developments are exceeding floor area, height and bulk of the former structures by more than 10% along with changing the intensity by more than 10%.

Coastal Act Section 30320: Developers are not properly posting or notifying the public or abutting neighbors of demolitions, which is a violation of due process.

Coastal Act Section 30604 (f) because there is no local coastal program the commission is mandated (shall) to encourage housing opportunities for persons of low and moderate income. Currently developers are evicting low income tenants, holding the property vacant to avoid MELLO Act

Requirements and all of the developments are for wealthy people.

There are no reports on Mello Act replacement for any of the affordable housing that has been lost or removed from Venice.



Dear Mr. Posner,

I oppose the five (5) demolitions proposed in the Oakwood section of Venice, to be heard at the June 13, 2014 Coastal Commission Meeting, for the reasons stated below:

Please ensure that each of the commissioners receives a copy of this letter for each of the five (5) projects, and that the letters be made a part of the permanent file for each of the five (5) cases, agenda items 10 F-J.
Thank you.

Regarding June 13, 2014 California Coastal Commission Meeting –
Agenda items 10 f through j, application numbers:

5-14-124 521 Vernon Ave Venice, CA 90291
5-14-0212 720 Indiana Ave Venice, CA 90291
5-14-0237 520 Broadway Ave Venice, CA 90291
5-14-0239 663 E. Brooks Ave Venice, CA 90291
5-14-0240 659 Broadway Street Venice, CA 90291

Dear Coastal Commissioners,

I request that the Coastal Commission deny the above five (5) application requests for a Coastal Development Permit based on the recurring pattern in each of the five (5) cases, all of which are in the Oakwood Area of Venice based on the following:

(a) none of the cases for demolition have been heard at the local level by the Venice Neighborhood Council, the public has not enjoyed the right to fully participate as required by Section 30005.5 of The California Coastal Act.

(b) provisions have not been made to replace the loss of affordable housing per Mello Act requirements on any of these demolitions. Reports or records are not available to the public on Mello Act replacements units on any of the affordable housing that has been lost and removed from the affordable housing inventory. A request has been made to Council District 11 with no response to date. The Venice Community has lost more affordable housing without replacement in the last six years than any other time in its history. I beseech your support as Coastal Commissioners to reverse this trend and bring relief to our community.

(c) each of these cases is a Venice Sign Off and does not reflect the intention of the Venice Specific Plan, the planned developments are not compatible in mass or scale to the existing community and therefore inconsistent with Coastal Act Sec 30624.7.

(d) It is a violation of CEQA to approve one more demolition in Venice without demanding a study consisting of:

Parking, Traffic, Historic Preservation, Community Character, and the Mello Act replacement of affordable housing. The barrage of development is having a negative cumulative effect per CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act, defines cumulative impacts as “two or more individual effects which, when considered together, are considerable.”  (State CEQA Guidelines Section 15355).

Venice is approximately 1 % of the Los Angeles population, yet has 19% of the developments and the environmental impact on the ecological balance due to this onslaught of development with lack of green space and removal of trees threatens to irrevocably change this beach community of quaint cottages into a concrete jungle that will no longer be walkable and welcoming. Per section 30001 of the California Coastal Act, I urge you to prevent the destruction of the ecological balance of this world renowned treasure we call home and to retain its resource value that is being destroyed.

Coastal Act Sec 30116 (E) & (F) Venice Coastal Zone community is a sensitive coastal resource area with special communities and neighborhoods which are significant as a visitor destination and also provide existing coastal housing and recreational opportunities for low and moderate income persons.

These demolitions are purely for financial gain those developing have no interest in the long term cumulative effect that it is having on the community and its residents of today and those of tomorrow. It is our responsibility and duty to protect the beautiful California Coast and the unique communities we call home for ourselves and future generations.

In conclusion, I ask you to deny any more demolitions without a proper study of how this is affecting our community.



Sign the petition

We the undersigned call for the following:

– an immediate moratorium on Small Lot Subdivisions (SLS) in VENICE, CA

– a denial of all Small Lot Subdivisions currently pending for VENICE, CA

– an immediate moratorium on the “Big Box” mansionization of VENICE, CA

– a certified Local Coastal Plan (LCP) for VENICE, CA

– no building permits to be issued for Small Lot Subdivisions prior to recordation of final map In VENICE, CA

– FULL public notification and participation, as set forth by Federal, State, and Local Law, in any and all proposed developments in VENICE, CA.

Additionally, we the undersigned call for full enforcement of  the California Coastal Act,  the Mello Act, and the Venice Specific Plan, because the cumulative effect of recent development in VENICE, CA is diminishing the quality of life for it’s residents, and negating the purpose of said protections put in place to preserve the Coastal Zone.

The below examples are pending approval by the L.A. City Planning Department:

1)  Proposed 3-lot Small Lot Subdivision in violation of Venice Specific Plan.
Owned by 664 Sunset Avenue LLC 
664 Sunset Avenue Venice CA  90291 /
AA-2013-767-PMLA-SL ZA-2013-768-CDP-MEL**ENV-2013-769-MND

2)  Proposed 3-lot Small Lot Subdivision in violation of Venice Specific Plan.
Claims to be owner/occupy – owned by 664 Sunset Avenue LLC
758 Sunset Avenue Venice CA  90291
AA-2013-1086-PMLA-SL**ENV-2013-1084-MND-REC1 ZA 2013-1085(CDP)(MEL)(ZAA)

Community members are alarmed their phone calls and emails expressing concern and asking questions to City Planning are not being returned.

Here are 3 consistent and repeated ways that the City is ignoring and violating Venice Specific Plan (VSP):

1. City Planning is interpreting the Small Lot Subdivision Ordinance (SLSO) to trump the Specific Plan, although the law says that specific plans always trump ordinances. The City is interpreting the Small Lot Subdivision Ordinance to allow more units on lots than the Specific Plan allows, and is not requiring any guest parking at all, and is allowing tandem parking that people often don’t use, rather than side-by-side parking.

2. Allowing buildings to be constructed to the maximum possible size even when the proposed building is totally out of scale with the neighborhood i.e. three story buildings that block all of the neighbors’ sunlight in a one-story or two-story neighborhood. The Specific Plan requires an evaluation of the compatibility of the mass and scale of the proposed building with the other buildings in the neighborhood. The Planning Department does not do this, and they have set up a process where there is no appeal.

If the Planning Department continues to get away with this, soon Venice will be all 3-story compounds with very little sun or air between the buildings.

3. The Planning Department is issuing illegal DIRs that blatantly violate the Specific Plan. Then the City says that there’s no appeal because the 14-day deadline has passed. The community has no real notice and no opportunity to respond. The City refuses to send us a .pdf of the DIRs as they are issued, only a mailed copy.

Whereas per The CA Coastal Act.
Section 30116 Sensitive Coastal Resource Areas – Venice has the following characteristics:
b.  areas possessing significant recreational value.
c. Special communities or neighborhoods which are significant visitor designation areas.
Areas that provide existing coastal housing or recreational opportunities for low- and moderate income-persons.
The public has a right to fully participate in decisions affecting coastal planning, conservation and development.

From Section 30250 Location; existing developed area:
“In addition, land divisions, other than leases for agricultural uses, outside existing developed areas shall be permitted only where 50 percent of the usable parcels in the area have been developed and the created parcels would be no smaller than the average size of surrounding parcels.”

Section 30251 Scenic and visual qualities:
“Permitted development shall be sited and designed to protect views to and along the ocean and scenic coastal areas.

Section 30252 (e) and enhancement of public access:
Where appropriate, protect special communities and neighborhoods that, because of their unique characteristics, are popular visitor destination points for recreational uses.”

Sign the petition


Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice —



when you sign – an email is sent to Chief of Police Charlie Beck, Capt. Jon Peters and others.

To Captain Jon Peters, Sheldon Cruz, Gary Williams Esq, Venice Community;


Youth of color profiled by LAPD

Officers are stopping African Americans, Latinos and people of color for minor infractions and I will explain the two that I witnessed personally and I will venture to say it is because of the meeting that was held at Oakwood Recreation and Parks (where the entire community was not invited, selected people who wanted the meeting to be private without the long time residents involvement) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 about the concerns of the community and what is going on in and around Oakwood park.

Lead Officer attended and I do believe the results have caused all people of color to be nervous and on high alert because LAPD is everywhere. History has proved itself each and every time after these meetings of fear and the said communities Quality of life is at stake we the people of color have to endure weeks of intimidation and tickets and even jail to satisfy those who claim their way of living is being violated.

First incident on Saturday August 18, 2012 5:50PM-Roy Davidson Sr was riding his bicycle home from work and he was pulled over by the LAPD. Roy asked “Why am I being stopped?”

The officers said “Put your hands behind your back and assume the position,” Roy asked them why am I being stopped? Again the two officers said “Put your hands behind your back and assume the position?”

The other officer said “You failed to stop behind the white line on your bike.” Roy said “You want me to assume the position and be patted down for a traffic violation?” The officer said”Are you on probation or parole?”

Roy answered “No I am not.” Officer”You have a bulge in your pocket?” Roy said “Its my phone.”

Office: “We want you to assume the position we want to search you.” Roy made a request “Please call the area sergeant out because I have never seen anyone patted down and searched for a minor traffic infraction.”

One officer approached Roy and stated” I am trying to talk with you as a man and get you to assume the position so we can pat you down to see if you have a weapon? Roy then turned around and the officers handcuffed him and emptied his pockets, they did find a small pocket knife.

The officer said “Oh yes you are going down for this.” Roy told him” I use this knife at work an you know that it has to be larger then your hand and clearly this one isn’t.” Officer”Oh you think you know the law what are you some street lawyer?”

Roy “No I know my rights for this type of harassment you are displaying now.” The officer had him stand there handcuffed,the other officer proceeded to the squad car and called for backup and the area sergeant an officers came from every direction with sirens blaring and speeding at high speeds.

Once the area sergeant was on the scene and speaking with the officers that stopped Roy, one of the other officers who were standing near Roy said “Oh well you are handcuffed now and what do you have to say?”, all the officers started to laugh?” Roy replied I want your names and badge numbers so I can file a report about your aggressiveness towards me riding on a bike home from work.”

Officer: “Well smart guy we don’t have any cards for you to have.”

Roy: “You can write it down on a piece of paper for me.”

Officer: “Oh you think you are a tuff guy.

Roy: “No I have been stopped before and I do know this is way over the top for a minor infraction.”

The area sergeant spoke with Roy and said that he should have done what was asked of him and again. Roy stated: “I was riding down the street and these officers were traveling in a different direction when they saw me they backed their vehicle up and proceeded after me and all I asked them was why did I need to be handcuffed and patted down. I was not being aggressive nor did my body language imply that I would do any harm to them while writing a ticket.”

The area sergeant went on to explain that there had been shooting over in the Playboy neighborhood and they were trying to protect the Venice Shoreline Neighborhood.”

Roy: “I want those officers information because I plan to file a complaint immediately because this stop was aggressive and my rights have been violated. I am a native and my family are long time residents and I am 32 years old.” The sergeant “Oh you look as if you are 24 years old you must take very good care of yourself.” Roy rode away on his bike shaking his head.

Minutes later 6:15PM- Ronald Weekly who resides in the apartments on 6th and Sunset was beaten by the police and taken to the hospital, family and friends stated that he was riding home on his skateboard and the officers started to pursue him and he was afraid and kept riding calling for his family to come an help him please.

The officers jumped out of the car and snatched him off of his skateboard and wrestled him to the ground.

When he kept moving they proceeded to hit him an many officers started to arrived and assisted in roughing him up. Family members were screaming and hysterical because they saw that this young man was in distress and needed medical attention. While down on the ground handcuffed he was bleeding and family and community called for and ambulance it arrived and he was transported. Family and community was dismayed about what went on in front of the building where he resided.

This I attribute to the meeting that was held where the concerns of twenty members of the community spoke out about how to keep the Oakwood area safe and the call for more police patrol in the area. Whenever more police presence is requested the people of color are treated unfairly and these incidents that I have explained above are beyond the call of duty. When concerns are expressed and solutions are requested why must LAPD’s brutality go into full swing?

Why is it that people of color are stopped constantly while the same infractions or stops are done for other people and none of the aggressiveness of the LAPD is displayed ex: Get out of the car so you can be patted down, or assume the position, or where are you going is ever asked of them?

Why is it that people of color are treated so unfairly in this area? Why is it that the only solution for the concerned community is LAPD patrol?

Why is it that people of color are always targeted? The fact is that none of the people of color were invited to the meeting held at Oakwood Park on Wednesday August 15, 2012? If solutions were truly being sought for the supposed problem at Oakwood Recreation Park then everyone needs to be involved to address these said issues and when I say everyone I do mean everyone.

Whatever fears that are within you are yours to deal with. We are not the enemy we love our community also and always have. We may display it in a way that may seem foreign to you, then get to know the culture and community first, but that is what makes Venice, Venice.

Respect us as people we live and work in this community and have been for decades, get to know us before you deem us as angry and you’re afraid to have us in a meeting with you because when we speak we do so with passion. Let me say this is the love we have for our home Venice.

When you ask LAPD to solve a community issue it is for sure one of our family members or community members always gets hurt, jailed, or killed.

Laddie Williams


Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice —


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 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

New 6ft high fence replaces old 4ft high fence at north end of Oakwood Park close to the benches.
NOTE: entrance gate at corner is locked shut

First let me start by saying that due to the closure of the entrances of Oakwood Park on 7th and Broadway and Oakwood and Broadway I have not been able to get any stories about the benches because sadly enough the great gentlemen who sit and play dominoes and talk have not been utilizing the park at all (Thank you Lizka Mendoza Oakwood Park Director and LA City Parks and Recreation).

“The park bench area has been dead, I will repeat the park bench area has been dead!”  Oakwood park benches  that are suppose to be vibrant and alive with people utilizing it for fun, and accessible to all human beings has been systematically cut off from the men and women and children, who enjoy sitting and playing dominoes and having birthday parties completely.

I think it is disheartening to ride/walk  by at various times of the day and not see anyone sitting on the park benches  because the entrances where people are suppose to enter and exit have been ‘fenced off completely ‘ and everyone who sits and plays and used the benches are asking “Why?”  They have been given various excuses of why the entrances have been closed and quote “Moved” but the insensitivity of the Park Director Lizka Mendoza and LA City Parks and Recreation for there decision to do such and heinous act to the people of Venice. Quiet and serene is not what a park is to offer nor should anyone who has common sense want that, but when the LA City Parks and Recreation  decision/staff management team  make this such a personal attack on those who utilize the benches on a daily basis, there must be action and we all must speak out against the unjustness that is occurring as I write this email.

The timing that the fencing off of the park entrances took place was strategic and well thought out,  and the reason it was done was to once again hurt those who utilize it for recreational purposes.  I can say this you cannot shut down forward movement and you will not stop the process of saving the Oakwood benches  from those who want its demise to quickly come about. The fact that ‘human beings’ have been cut off from utilizing the benches on a daily basis has been stopped for over ten days is only a deterrent for a moment.

I am requesting that all of us write a letter to the Lizka Mendoza park director ( and LA Parks and Recreations RAP ( board and Shoreline district supervisors ( and ) and let them know that we the people of Venice want what is fair for the people of Venice who utilize the park benches for recreational purposes. Open the entrances and exits as they were previously ASAP!  The park should be accessible to all people including handicapped and disabled.

I will get the stories of the park benches but this must be dealt with first and foremost.


Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice —



For those of you who were not in attendance, questions about the transfer of Oakwood Park to the Valley Division of Recreation & Parks came up during our Saturday meeting. I promised to try to find some answers this week. At the time of this writing, it looks like Mark Israel who attended the November 1st meeting of the Oakwood Park PAB has the title of Recreation Supervisor Valley/Shoreline District – so perhaps the Valley & Shoreline districts were merged???

Mark Israel (white shirt) at Oakwood PAB Mtg - 11-1-11 Photo by Myla Reson

In this photo Israel is in white shirt-sleeves on the right. Charles Singer, Acting Superintendent of the West Region of the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks is in light blue shirt-sleeves (& dark blue vest) standing next to Mark Israel.

Interesting that they observed the meeting, were not introduced – nor did they introduce themselves.

Also in the back of the room were four uniformed police officers:

Cops at Oakwood PAB Mtg. 11-1-11 Photo by Myla Reson

Laddie reported that when she asked why there were four uniformed LAPD at the PAB meeting, she was told that Lizka had requested protection because she was afraid that attendees might become violent.

I wonder what the cost was for Lizka’s “protection”, and how that “protection” is bugeted?

Laddie also believes that it was Valley/Shoreline District Recreation Supervisor Mark Israel who came up with the plans to place the exercise equipment in the picnic area.

Plan to put exercise equipment between benches at Oakwood Park

I suppose it could be argued that if they were to go with plan 1 it could be truthfully said that they were not planning to “move the benches”, but it’s really inexcusable that they did not share their proposal to crowd the benches, as you can see in this photo, at the 11/1/11 PAB meeting.