Comments By Angela McGregor
There was a large turnout for this meeting, and residents arrived expecting to be able to ask questions and give feedback to the developers, as well as be given some idea of what was to be built. However, the developers — VCHC, HCH, Eric Moss — all insisted there is no plan, even though the documents soliciting proposals for this development (as presented to the crowd by Darryl Dufay) clearly stated that, in order to enter into their agreement to develop the project, they needed to submit at least some idea of what they were proposing to do.
Public discourse was effectively shut down by the way the meeting was organized: Tables were set up around the room labeled “public safety”, “density”, “parking” and so forth and attendees were advised to go to them and scribble their concerns/suggestions on swaths of butcher paper. No one was notified in advance that it would be done this way and so no one came prepared to offer this type of input. I asked two questions of one of the table monitors:
1) You say the comments given on these sheets will be taken into consideration in the planning of this development. If that’s the case, how will they be weighted? What if someone simply doesn’t want another homeless housing development in Venice? Will they be given equal consideration?
2) Why wasn’t the concept of this project first brought before the VNC’s LUPC committee and the VNC, the way any other project being developed in Venice is?
He had no answers for either, but did scribble my questions onto the butcher paper.
Linda Lucks (VCHC representative/former VNC President) later approached me and let me know that there would be “many meetings like this” at which the community would “come together” to design an acceptable project based upon community input. After this, the proposal would go before the LUPC, the VNC, get an EIR, and a Coastal Development Permit. She said this would take “years”.
She also confirmed that all residents of this development will come through the Coordinated Entry System. This means that Venice’s Homeless will not be given priority in being housed in this building, and in fact, we may actually be “importing” chronically homeless and disabled individuals from all over Los Angeles to reside in it.