Note: Katrina M. Glusac is a resident and mother of child going to enter Westminster Elementary School in Fall and writes of concern for her child after reading John Betz’s story of Westminster Senior Center park conditions in Venice Update.
I want to clarify strongly again that there is an elementary school that sits steps away from the park in question. To add to what Mr. Betz’ addressed, Westminister Elementary buses in about 80 kids of the 300 plus kids that attend the school. The rest of the kids are local Venice kids and while it is a magnet school, it is also a neighborhood school. Local Venice parents such as myself have been getting together and working hard with the amazing staff and new principal to make it a proud jewel of the neighborhood and to urge other local parents to actually send their children to their local neighborhood school. I am sure you have seen all the new community signs hanging around the school on the Abbott Kinney side, the flea market on the weekends, the open garden and the beach parking on the campus. These are all new efforts from the PTA to raise funds and awareness for the school.
We are Venice residents and actually live on the border of Coeur d’Alene Elementary and Westminister Elementary. While the norm with many Venice parents is to do anything to get into Coeur d’Alene because of its strong reputation, we chose Westminister to take a community stance and “help the underdog.” This school is working so hard on all kinds of visual and use improvements such as getting a new soccer field this summer, building mosaics to decorate the campus and extending the amazing community garden around the entire school. The last thing this school needs just as it is trying to rebuild its reputation after years of having a here-say or rough reputation is an encampment and lockers around the school. This is negligent and no parent would feel safe or secure having their children near that park with what actually goes on there.
While we want our child respecting the needs and rights of all and while we raise him to walk the boardwalk with pride and give a kind hello to all, we cannot agree with exposure of our child or these children to any situations within the proximity of their school that are considered questionable or less than safe.
In addition, there is an area very near the school behind Abbott Kinney that was also an RV encampment. You cannot walk on the sidewalk half the time as the spillover from the RV’s and camping encroaches on the sidewalk. This area also is a walking path for kids on the way home from school as is the path through the park. As a parent, I avoid walking my child through either of these areas as they are not sanitary or safe. Based on this concern as a mother, I would urge you to take action on Mr. Betz’ Letter and on the below:
The City Attorney last year presented the City Council with new language for LAMC 85.02 that meets the constitutional concerns of the court. You can view it in CF 14-1057 and City Attorney Report R15-0088. The CA’s report includes alternative language that would allow car camping at remote locations in conjunction with participation in a program with social service agencies to find permanent housing.
I am writing to ask that you press your colleagues on the Homeless and Poverty Committee to pass this new version of 85.02 and send it to the City Council for a vote.
Thank you respectfully,
Katrina M. Glusac