Posts Tagged ‘rights’

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

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PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION: STOP RACIAL PROFILING IN THE VENICE COMMUNITY

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;

WATCH VIDEO

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

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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

WEBSITE: www.orgsites.com/ca/wd!
PHONE: (310) 845-6034
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PLEASE HELP US SPREAD THIS VIA FACEBOOK, MYSPACE, TWITTER…

PLEASE MAKE A CALL TO STOP LOS ANGELES: USA’S NEWEST POLICE ATTACKS ON THE POOR AND HOMELESS

Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villariagosa   (213) 978-0721
Venice Area Councilman, Bill Rosendhal   (213) 473-7011
LAPD Police Chief, Charles Beck              (213) 485-3202

PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION WHICH WILL SEND EMAILS TO OUR LOCAL OFFICIALS, POLIC OFFICERS AND THE MAYOR: STOP ATTACKING RV DWELLERS IN VENICE

These days, Los Angeles, USA , is seeing the worst attacks on homeless people in the city since the Skid Row/Bratton “Broken Windows” attacks in 2003. Scores of low-income people in the Venice Beach area recently have had their last affprdable homes, their R.V.s, seized –making them homeless.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-homeless-parking-20101212,0,2846867.story

Hundreds more homeless people have been arrested here in recent months.

Hundreds more are fleeing in fear.

Meanwhile, “shelters” in Los Angeles are jammed, often-filthy, inhumane, and have long-been more threatening than L.A’s jails. Nobody wants to go to them. “Affordable housing,” in Los Angeles, is now simply non-existent: as absurd government policies continue to merely prop real-estate prices sky-high for the banks –and to facilitate their on-going plans of home robbing foreclosure waves –since the economic crash.

—  L.A.’s jobs have vanished –unless you want to spend your days rummaging through dumpsters for bottles and cans.

—  Or drive a battered old truck around –looking all day for cast-off cardboard.

Yet, instead of it’s sold-out politicians, L.A. can always find a scapegoat in the homeless:

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/video?id=7835662

L.A’s Venice Beach Boardwalk is still L.A.’s number one tourist draw. And it is known world-wide for its poor and creative artists.

“Phase One..” of LA City Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s program is, so far, just to kick us all out; regardless of our status here as a historic and peaceful part of the community –and there has yet to be a single place identified for the area’s 3,000 homeless and RV dwellers to go; even as arrests and towings under Rosendahl have skyrocketed since this hate-campaign he’s exploiting against L.A.’s Venice Beach homeless began.

These politicians –are purposefully building their oceanside enclaves for California’s exclusive rich: and walling them off to outside visitors, even as the rest of California crumbles in economic ruin.

Hippies, Beatniks, Beats and poor people living in community alongside everybody are what made Venice Beach –this special area –famous.

Now they are kicking us out –even as it is leading to more homeless deaths.

If you’d like to do something, just please make one CALL and simply say:

” Three homeless deaths in 2 months is enough, Mayor Villariagosa; These hundreds of people are not criminals –and tell Bill Rosendahl to quit saying they are. Mayor, you have the power to give the homeless and those in R.V.s in Venice a Safe Zone for the Holidays. Do it.”

Bill could’ve said something about safe zones –but not even that seems to be on his mind these days. Some of us will march again next Saturday –and hopefully with a bunch more new folks now.

We want to establish a homeless-run community in Venice to stop these attacks –But before we poor can mobilize to get affordable housing –But we need a “Safe Zone” in Venice from LAPD arrests and seizures –now!

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Thanks for your help.

Sincerely,
David Busch
www.orgsites.com/ca/wd!
(310) 845-6034

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Samples of the out of control rhetoric against homeless people:
http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2010/07/photoshop_rv_parking_photo.php
http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2010/09/venice_rv_parking_dump.php

Happy Holidaze:

Just a quick word to let you know there’s new news & views on the SOV website:

  • An RV Dweller’s Perspective – He may live in his vehicle, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a good Venice neighbor
  • Video: Assistant City Attorney, Mark Brown, spoke with members of the Venice Boardwalk Ocean Front Walk Task Forcemeeting on Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010
  • VNC Town Hall on December 2nd!
  • …and more at: http://www.spiritofvenice.net

    Peace,
    SOV

    Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice
    http://www.spiritofvenice.net

    The commission says cities’ nighttime closures are illegal without state approval. The first big fight is shaping up in Los Angeles, which says the panel has little authority over local statutes.

    The California Coastal Commission is taking aim at 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.

    The first major battle is brewing in Los Angeles, where the coastal agency has told the city that its longstanding midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew barring the public from beaches, piers and oceanfront parks from Will Rogers State Beach to Cabrillo Beach violates the state Coastal Act and must be relaxed.

    Coastal Commission Executive Director Peter Douglas said he’d like to forge compromises with Los Angeles and other cities for narrower curfews that would extend beach hours and grant exceptions for recreational activities while addressing proven public safety concerns. Already, Laguna Beach has changed its curfew rules since the commission raised objections.

    “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,” Douglas said. “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.”

    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. For complete story: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-beach-curfew-20101117,0,1192398,full.story

    July 13, 2010

    Mayor Villaraigosa sent the newly amended oversize vehicle ordinance back to the City Council and the drawing board with recommendations.

    See and download the letter here Oversize Vehicle Ordinace RWS letter (2010-07-13)

    For more go here:  http://www.spiritofvenice.net

    June 21, 2010
    Breaking News
    by Tibby Rothman, Venice Paper

    Venice– Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has added his name to the California Coastal Commission’s in rejecting an agreement that would pave the way for permit parking in Venice.

    His actions add a new player to the highly contentious permit parking battle. A debate that has seen charged rhetoric from those at its edges but calm discussion and disagreement amongst the preponderance of ordinary Venetians both for and against. While some Venetians see permit parking as a tactic to end the practice of mobile homes plaguing the area, others have protested it as an unwelcome layer of expense and bureaucracy.

    On June 17, Villaraigosa rejected city council approval of a plan that could lead to permit parking in the area. (The Coastal Commission had rejected the same plan a week earlier.) His measured letter to the council stated that homelessness was a city-wide problem that needed to be addressed on a city-wide level. He also sought to differentiate between those on the streets because they had been hit hard by economic conditions, and those who simply sought it as a lifestyle.

    The development pits the Mayor’s office against City Attorney Carmen Trutanich who had sided with the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation on the issue. The foundation is part of a law suit which supports permit parking in the area. The foundation is a strange bedfellow for supposedly liberal Venice. Amongst its other issues, the foundation is supporting legal efforts to repeal the recently passed federal health care reform bill.

    Here’s the text of the Mayor’s letter to the City Council stating his position:

    June 17, 2010

    Honorable Members of the Los Angeles City Council
    clo City Clerk
    City Hall, Room 395
    Re: CF 10-0843. Venice Stakeholders Association v. California Coastal Commission; City of Los Angeles v. California Coastal Commission; Settlement Agreement

    Honorable Members:
    Today I return without signature Council File 10-0843, which approves a settlement agreement that would allow for the initiation of overnight parking districts (OPDs) in the community of Venice in West Los Angeles.

    I am taking this step in light of the June 10, 2010 decision of the California Coastal Commission to reject the City’s latest application for the establishment of Overnight Parking Districts in the Venice coastal zone. This decision has the practical effect of voiding the settlement agreement and making the City Council’s action moot.

    Though technically a parking issue, the underlying issue is the growing number of residents that dwell in vehicles on our City streets. As a City, I believe we have the ability to differentiate between the needs of those legitimately suffering from economic dislocation who are in need of safe places to park and help in obtaining services and housing, and those who are taking unfair advantage of both the system and the historically welcoming tradition of the Venice community by creating nuisances and sometimes committing crimes. We can combine compassion and pragmatism with appropriate measured law enforcement to avoid the further victimization of both the housed and the un-housed populations of Venice.

    Homelessness and economic dislocation are issues in every part of Los Angeles, not to mention the region, state and nation. I applaud Councilman Rosendahl for his efforts on issues of homelessness and support his proposal to create safe-haven public parking areas for people who are willing to accept homeless-related services. Programs in Eugene, OR and Santa Barbara, CA have been very successful at bridging this gap. Such a program could provide a number of locations that are dispersed throughout the region, where services could be provided and allow for people to impose overnight parking restrictions without taking away some of the last housing options that some people have.

    In this case, and all over our City, it’s time we embraced the challenge and began working toward real solutions, not those that push problems from one block to another, from one neighborhood to another. We can do better, and we must do better.

    Therefore, I am returning this file without signature and hope that we can work together to find an appropriate solution for this important and growing problem.