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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Town Hall Thursday About Westminster Senior Center for Storage

Westminster

Westminster Senior Center under construction. Councilman Mike Bonin will hold his second Town Hall meet this month and this one will be regarding Westminster Senior Center being used for storage for homeless people’s belongings.  The meet will be from 6 to 9 pm Thursday, 15 September, at Westminster Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd. The previous Town Hall on the 9th of September, although intended to be an update of events, dealt heavily with the Westminster Senior Center.  Comments were overwhelmingly against storage at the senior center.   There are only two permanent storage facilities in Los Angeles–one is at LAX and the other is in Skid Row. The one located downtown, which is in a commercial area, is surrounded by encampments as shown in the photos. 1storage 2storage The above photos were taken Monday of the Bin, the downtown storage facility for homeless people’s belongings. Photos show encampments on the surrounding streets. There is no security. The Westminster Senior Center is under construction now.  The center is located in a residential area and is across the street on one side from Westminster Elementary School. The park side is filled with motor homes and homeless.  Recently, the school got the oversize vehicle signs for the school side to prevent motor homes parking there and creating a a possible conflict with children walking to and from school. The Venice Neighborhood Council Homeless Committee came out with  a Mobile Storage Plan after their second meeting.  See story. Councilman Bonin had comments regarding the Mobile Storage Plan.   See comments.

Comments (15)

  1. Anonymous

    My take away from the meeting was that it’s not truly a temporary storage with a yearly lease that will most likely be renewed annually. Permits were obtained under very dubious circumstances. No risk assessments or environmental assessments done. No clear answer as to why it’s being pushed as there is already storage at the beach. It will eventually become a full service homeless facility not just offering storage but eventually even laundry showers etc. These meetings are for legal purposes purely to state he received community input- no true representation or answers were evident.

    • lee

      How many people attended?

    • Stewart

      Bonin was not there.
      I asked a Cd11 person why Bonin wasn’t there? What I heard is that Bonin doesn’t go to information meetings like this; his job is to make decisions.
      Unfortunately the folks sent to put on the meeting had little knowledge of the project and could not answer questions.
      So I left early.

      There were 100 or so people.

      • heidi

        Well that gives us some insight into the mind of Mike Bonin. He doesn’t bother with listening to his constituents, only focuses on deciding the fate of his constituents. Hmm. Which country does he think he’s living in? Прощай

    • heidi

      At last night’s meeting, three things were abundantly clear to me:

      1) Our Council Office is incredibly sneaky and is surreptitiously trying to get this conversion through in the fastest and quietest way possible. Permits were pulled (and applied for) just three days ago, despite work having started weeks ago. In the permit, they claim that it is work to update a “Senior’s Center” and they specifically claim that there will be NO CHANGE OF USE. Though Parks & Recreation applied for the permit, it was clear that it is happening at the bequest of Councilman Bonins’ office. Neither parents at the Westminster School nor LAUSD have been apprised of the plans that will undoubtedly affect them so profoundly. And the community has been bullied into his dictatorial decision with no opportunity to share it concerns with a representative who’s interested in listening and actually hearing them.

      2) LAHSA and Parks & Rec are operating under the assumption that the park and school area are already overwhelmed with homeless individuals. They kept saying, “they’re already here.” What they fail to understand is that while the park occasionally has a homeless presence, it is not common and regular. By converting the Senior Center, they are essentially placing a magnet there, encouraging homeless individuals to regularly travel there from where they are now. Since the LAHSA/City reps are so unfamiliar with the reality of our current situation in Venice (the rep from the City Attorney’s office kept calling it Westchester), the only way they could have this understanding is because the Council Office has told them this. Again, sneaky.

      3) They think we’re pre-schoolers. Last night’s attempt at managing process with City meeting facilitators was embarrassing for them and insulting to us. The representatives of the City had absolutely NO INTENTION OF ANSWERING QUESTIONS. They wanted us to “feel heard” and wrote our concerns in color markers so we believed they had listened. This meeting was not about dialog nor was it about information, it was yet another box Bonin can check off on his path to a ribbon cutting ceremony and photo-op. Again, sneaky.

      • Richard Feibusch

        HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE!!! – No one understands this more than the people who lived in the neighborhood near the St Joseph’s Day Center on 4th & Rose between 1985 and when they were forced to move a few short years ago because the property was sold and the new owners were planning redevelopment. Councilman Rosendahl BEGGED the new owners to let them stay to no avail – When they left, the neighborhood improved almost instantly, despite the fact that their soup kitchen remained up the street on Rose. No more people hanging in the alleys, no more hanging on the street corners, no more garbage strewn throughout the alleys.. Unfortunately, Mike brokered a similar deal to today moving the Day Center to Lincoln and Flower, giving residents little time to organize and inflicted the same sort of adversity that we had been experiencing along Rose & 4th… There is no reason for anyone to believe that this project will somehow be different. Much like Mike’s former boss, Councilmember Ruth Galanter, Mike sees little difference between diversity and adversity…

      • lee

        Heidi, you seem well versed in the politics of it all, and I’m assuming you attended the meeting. Do you believe we have enough concerned members of the community that are not happy with the district 11 office making the decision for us for us to put a petition to oppose this and block the progression and who do you believe we can go to in the community to organize it quickly and stop this in it’s track. They are doing this in our front yards and we need to stop it. I’m just not well versed politically in how this all approved and facilitated and who can we go to, to oppose it!

        • heidi

          I believe a massive majority of the community is against this idea. And to be clear, they’re not against the idea of storage per se (though no one seems convinced it will move people off the streets, including Chrysalis), they’re against the idea of importing the problems associated with homelessness deep into a dense residential community and adjacent to schools which educate 500+ 2 – 11 years olds. There are other options (mobile Storage is one) that they are not considering for some very odd reason. And YES, there is enough opposition to stop it. Stay tuned to what will be a painful process for some time to come.

          • lee

            Construction started for sometime already. I’ve been away in the hospital so I’m recently getting updated on all this. It does not seem that there is a mean to stop it before it becomes a camp site. As is we have transients that are intoxicated or tweeking camping in our yards and jumping on our roof overnight and making it difficult to feel safe now this is saying, it’s O.K. welcome more of the same as opposed to real solutions, addiction programs and mental health counseling. The lockers will only create more of the same. This is really not a solution at all just making it harder for the families in Venice.

  2. derek

    I believe Mike Bonin said the community could establish rules about the use of the Westminster Center as a storage facility. If this is the case, here are a list of 20 or so conditions I think should be enacted if the use of the center for storage moves forward. I will not be able to attend the meeting this evening. Could someone please address these for me at the meeting? Feel free to add any restrictions you see fit.
    1. Limited hours between 10-2; Monday-Friday
    2. Storage to be available to only those who leased or owned within the city of Los Angeles prior to becoming homeless.
    3. Storage only. No services, meeting points, showers or laundry to be provided at the center.
    4. There will be no loitering within the immediate area or on the center’s property prior to, during, or after the centers operating hours. Anyone caught violating this will lose privileges of using the center.
    5. Sign-up for the storage must be provided off-site at the Chrysalis center.
    6. Those granted use of the storage must be enrolled in a drug/alcohol program and/or psychiatric program as applicable and be enrolled in a program to get off of the streets.
    7. Storage to be provided for a maximum of 6 months only for each user of the facility.
    8. Chrysalis is legally responsible for keeping the property and the surrounding area clean of refuse.
    9. Chrysalis is legally responsible for any damage incurred to neighboring properties by anyone using the storage facilities.
    10. The City of Los Angeles is, from the time of the center opening, responsible to keep all sidewalks in Venice clear of refuse.
    11. The City of Los Angeles will resume enforcement of all encampments/tents being broken down and removed off of the public rights of way during the hours of 6 AM to 10 PM in Venice.
    12. Any user of the facility who is caught using drugs or committing a crime will immediately lose the right to use the facility.
    13. Background checks must be conducted on all users of the facility. Anyone with an outstanding warrant will be barred from storing personal items on the property.
    14. LAPD will meet with Chrysalis once a week to verify those caught committing a crime or with drugs are using the facility.
    15. Users of the facility must check in at the storage facility once a week. If after 2 weeks, the user of the facility has not checked in, all of their items will be removed from the center and taken to the downtown facility where it will be held for 90 days, after which all items will be destroyed.
    16. Users of the facility are entitled to a maximum of 60 gallons of storage both on site and on their persons at all times.
    17. All items within the facility will be checked for contraband and sprayed for bugs and bacteria.
    18. Chrysalis will hold neighborhood meetings once a month with the surrounding neighbors to respond to any complaints.
    19. A full Coastal Development Permit and Change of Zoning to manufacturing/storage facility must occur through the natural processes outlined in the General Code prior to the opening of the center.
    20. Chrysalis must provide detailed costs incurred every 6 months to the Venice Neighborhood Council for vetting on whether or not the use of public funding is properly spent.
    21. The operation of the center will be for 1 year. After which the council office, LAHSA and Chrysalis must report to the Venice Neighborhood Council on how many individuals have been removed off of the street through using the storage facility. The Neighborhood Council can vote at that time as to whether the storage facility, the actions of the city in keeping Venice clean have worked over the past year. If the VNC decides the city and/or Chrysalis have failed to improved conditions in Venice, the center will be shut down immediately and returned to the community for use to be determined.
    22. Users are allowed access to items stored at the facility no more than 3 days per week.
    23. Chrysalis is responsible to conduct meeting with user of the facility once a month to verify all conditions have been met regarding treatment and enrollment in services. Meetings must be held off site at the Chrysalis headquarters in Santa Monica.
    24. Those on the waiting list must adhere to all said rules/restrictions. Any deviations will result in removal from waiting list.

    • Anonymous

      Hi no clarity of any of the above issues. Meeting was just another stalling tactic by Bonin’s office. But you have very good points just wish there was someone to hear you.

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