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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

CD11 Candidates Answer Questions Asked by Venetians for Venice Update Q&A

This is the third set of questions the Venice Update submitted to the incumbent and the two candidates for the CD11 Council Seat.

Hopefully, these questions with the answers will help you, the voting reader,  be better informed on issues concerning Venetians. These questions were composed by a small group of Venetians. The questions have been answered and are printed below.

There will be just one more set of questions before the election.

Mike Bonin

1.Venetians west of Lincoln Blvd want preferential parking.  They feel preferential parking would solve many of the parking and camping issues in Venice.  It has been stated that the council office is the one dragging its feet to meet the California Coastal Commission minimum requirements to get preferential parking.  If elected, what steps would you take to get preferential parking in Venice west of Lincoln.  Why do you feel this has this not been done?  Would you make this a priority?

Repeated attempts by the City of Los Angeles and neighbors in Venice to get permit parking over the course of several decades have been stymied by the California Coastal Commission. The Commission has been clear about what it will take for Venice to be able to permit parking for its residents. In short, we need to build more parking, create more options for people to get to the beach without a car, and approve a Local Coastal Plan. I am the first elected official in more than a generation to do that:

Build More Public Parking – I am very happy that during my first term, the City has built additional public parking in Venice for first time in decades. In 2015, we added 66 new spaces at the public lot at 1300 Electric Avenue. In 2016, we added 50 new spaces at 1600 Tabor Court. We also opened up30 new night time parking spots on Venice Boulevard near the beach, and I initiated the legally mandated study needed to allow us to raise parking fees on developers so we have more money to build additional parking in Venice.

Increase Transit Options to and from Venice – The Coastal Commission has repeatedly urged the City to increase transit options for the beach. In the past four years, we have added bike lanes, improved safety features for cyclists, added the Santa Monica-based bike share program, and have begun to add the Metro-operated bike share program in Venice.

Approve a Local Coastal Plan – The City was supposed to adopt an LCP in the 1970s, and after decades of delay, I insisted we start the LCP process, which will give us local control and the ability to regulate our own parking. I secured funding from several pots of money, including state grants, and won approval for the Department of City Planning to hire staff. The initial scoping sessions have already begun.

It is easy for other candidates to say we should insist on permit parking. It is another thing entirely to understand what it takes for the City to win that authority, and to have the ability to deliver the funding and resources and projects required to get that authority.

2.  It appears self-evident that the sale of the Thatcher Yard and the Venice Median Parking lot would house many more homeless if the properties were sold and monies used to build elsewhere.  How would you, or do you, justify building on these lots knowing this or would you sell and build elsewhere.

Taken to its logical conclusion, that statement and question suggest that the City of Los Angeles should only build low-income or homeless housing in the areas where property is the cheapest, which effectively means shifting the burden of solving a regional crisis primarily in low-income communities (which, in Los Angeles, happen to be mostly African-American and Latino.) That is not a tenable solution. Every part of Los Angeles needs to be part of a solution to a crisis that impacts every part of Los Angeles.

In 2016, the City approved a Comprehensive Homelessness Strategy, which calls for the City to consider using its surplus, vacant, and under-used properties in all parts of the City for housing. Among the first dozen properties being considered are Thatcher Yard and the Dell-Pacific lot. These are not the only lots being considered in the first round, and the City will begin the process of looking at a second batch in the next few months. In total, the City will be examining hundreds of properties in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles as part of this process.

It is also important to note – despite repeated assertions to the contrary – that the City has not decided what or even whether to build on these properties. The City has only allowed affordable housing developers the opportunity to propose at these sites. At this point, there are no actual proposals. The housing developers who were assigned to each of the Venice sites are conducting community and neighborhood outreach before they propose something. Then, those proposal must be reviewed by the Land Use and Planning Committee of the Venice Neighborhood Council, the full Venice Neighborhood Council, and then the City planning approval process and likely the California Coastal Commission.

There will only be proposals for each site after the developers work with communities to create proposals. And those proposals will not be acted on without extensive further community input.

3. The mayor and our city council are advocating enthusiastically to bring the 2024 Olympics to Los Angeles.  According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “A growing number of economists argue that both the short- and long-term benefits of hosting the games are at best exaggerated and at worst nonexistent, leaving many host countries with large debts and maintenance liabilities.” Given that the city already has the worst traffic in the country and a looming budget,  what is your basis for supporting the  L.A. 2024 Olympics?

Unlike almost any other city in the world, Los Angeles is incredibly well-positioned to host the Olympic Games, and to make a profit doing so.

Los Angeles, having hosted the Games twice before, has a track record of managing the games AND turning a profit. The surplus from the 1984 Olympics is still building and supporting parks and local school sports in LA, and that the 2024 Games is projected to have an even bigger surplus.

Why it that? The biggest cost to other host cities is building infrastructure to accommodate the Games. The Los Angeles region already has nearly all of the necessary venues and infrastructure in place, and faces no significant upfront costs in order to be a host city. The organizing committee’s $4.5-billion budget anticipates a profit of about $150 million after recording such income as the $1.7-billion IOC contribution, $1.5 billion from sponsorships, $1.12 billion from tickets and $850 million in broadcast rights.

The City negotiated significant concessions and major partners have stepped in to help protect the City treasury. Concerned about the costs of building an Olympic Village, we balked – and now the athletes and media will be housed in dormitories at UCLA and USC. The federal government has agreed to cover security costs, and the state has guaranteed $250 million to cover any potential cost over-runs. If we are selected to host the 2024 Games, it is most likely that we will not only benefit from tremendous investment and job creation throughout the region, but we will also very likely have a surplus after the Games that can help make Los Angeles a better place to live for generations to come. In the unlikely event that the Games run over budget, there are multiple levels of protection to make sure that taxpayers in Los Angeles are protected from footing the bill.

4.  What is the one question you feel has not been asked that you would like to answer?  Possibly, there is more than one question.

Supplemental Question 1:

 In the past four years, what have you done for Venice?

I am proud of the things we have gotten done for Venice in the last few years, and I am eager to have an opportunity to continue working to make Venice a great place to live, work and enjoy. Some of the things I have accomplished include:

•    Fighting for funding to hire a Superintendent at Venice Beach – adding coordination and oversight to the popular tourist destination, business district and neighborhood

•    Funding and personally helped upgrade the foot bridges over the Venice Canals to refurbish the bridges and handrails

•    Adding new parking lots along Irving Tabor Court and Electric Avenue to provide parking for local businesses

•    Resurfacing Venice handball courts

•    Adding new bike racks, signs and bollards to stop people from accidentally driving on Ocean Front Walk

•    Fighting to keep the Latino Resource Organization in the Vera Davis Center and got funding allocated in the budget to preserve programs at the Vera Davis Center

•    Working with neighbors and the LAPD to help find the people responsible for defacing the Vietnam Veterans MIA/POW memorial wall, and to restore the cherished mural

•    Working with local business owners to start the Venice Business Improvement District, which will help keep the area safe and clean

•    Getting a series of high-tech security cameras added to Venice Beach area, giving the LAPD an important tool to fight crime at Venice Beach

•    Working with small businesses owners to formally establish the Washington Square Business Improvement Group

•    Adding a bike lane to Rose Avenue

•    Working with the City of Santa Monica to place Breeze Bike Share stations in Venice, so locals and tourists could use the convenient bike share service

•    Partnering with the Venice Chamber of Commerce to host community celebrations and “Venice Sign Lightings” for LGBT Pride, the Day of the Doors, the Los Angeles Rams and the Holidays

•    Getting funding allocated to improve and beautify Venice Centennial Park

•    Supporting Venice Art Walk with a grant to keep the beloved community celebration of art alive

•    Helping accelerate a landscaping project at the DWP facility at Lincoln and Broadway to get drought-tolerant landscaping installed

•    Installing a flashing-beacon crosswalk across Abbot Kinney Boulevard to keep kids crossing the street on the way to Westminster Elementary School safe

•    Funding weekly Bureau of Sanitation cleanups on Ocean Front Walk, Third Avenue and Westminster Avenue

•    Working with the Venice Farmers Market to get EBT Functionality so the Farmers Market could serve people at different income levels

•    Focusing the Clean Streets program on the Couer d’Alene area to clean up general debris and alley weeds

•    Upgrading Muscle Beach with new equipment and resurfacing

•    Creating 30 new night time parking spots on Venice Boulevard near the beach

•    Starting the process establishing an “Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District” for Venice, allowing tax money created in Venice to be dedicated toward improvements in Venice

•    Working with Mayor Garcetti to break ground on a water reclamation project at Penmar Park that will save water and prevent pollution from reaching Santa Monica Bay

•    Funding the upgrade of street lights on Ocean Front Walk to brighter and more energy-efficient LED lights

•    Hosting a series of free movie nights at Oakwood Recreation Center, offering fun, family-friendly opportunities for neighbors to gather

•    Co-sponsoring the Venice Community Health Fair with Assemblywoman Autumn Burke

•    Protecting affordable housing by authoring legislation that forces the city to draft and adopt a permanent Mello Act ordinance

•    Working with the Planning Department to clarify that the Venice Specific Plan development standards supercede the small lot subdivision ordinance, protecting community character in Venice

•    Starting a program to add artwork to utility boxes throughout Venice, adding color and art to the neighborhood

•    Increasing the number of police officers patrolling the beach area on bike and horseback

•    Restoring the Street Services clean-up of walk streets

•    Hiring Chrysalis to augment cleaning of Venice Beach restroom facilities

•    Launching the process to adopt a “Venice Local Coastal Plan” to protect the area from overdevelopment and make the permitting process simpler

•    Stopping the 522 Venice project and won a landmark case demonstrating the primacy of the Coastal Act in local decisions

•    Standing with the community to kill the unpopular 1414 Main Street project

•    Working with state legislators to amend SB1818, the state’s “density bonus law,” to close a loophole so that developers could not get density bonuses while reducing affordable housing

•    Launching Operation Street Lift along Washington Boulevard, coordinating street repaving with other important neighborhood repairs to minimize impact on local businesses

•    Founding and facilitated Venice Forward – a multi-agency collaborative focused on ending homelessness in Venice

•    Bringing Lava Mae to Venice, offering the homeless a place to shower and use the restroom

•    Working with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl to found a County-City-Community (C3) partnership for Venice, which brings outreach workers and health professionals to the area to help homeless people connect to housing and resources

•    Adding more LAPD HOPE teams to Pacific Division to offer additional resources to conduct outreach to the homeless

•    Helping fund the homeless outreach work of LAPD Chaplains Steve and Regina Weller

•    Working with People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) to conduct outreach services in Venice

Supplemental Question 2:

What have you done to make government smarter, more efficient, and more constituent friendly?

One of my mantras is that “Government should be on your side, not on your back.” That is why my first action as an elected official was to repeal the city policy that allowed you to get a ticket if you were parked at a broken meter. And it is why I am leading a major parking reform initiative that will reduce parking fines, allow you to park in a street sweeping zone after the sweeper has gone by, keep meter revenue in the local area for neighborhood improvements, and “code the curb” to allow our meters to communicate with smart phone apps so you know when and where spaces are available, and so you can pay using your smartphone.

Additionally, I have pushed the City to expand the use technology and created a pilot program to provide tablet technology to firefighters, allowing to increase efficiency and more easily and quickly save lives and property. (When I took office, some firefighters were still using Thomas Guides.)

I have also routinely tried to open government up for easier access to the people we represent. I hold “Pop Up Office Hours” at farmers’ markets, supermarkets, youth sporting events, church festivals, and more to give any person with an issue an opportunity to meet with me face-to-face. This augments my frequent practice of meeting with neighbors in a living room or backyard to discuss problems and solutions. And even as an elected official, I have continued to go door-to-door to talk with the people I represent. (The first neighborhood I walked, with Mayor Eric Garcetti, was in Venice.)

Supplemental Question 3:

Venice is a coastal community, and the 11th District includes the beach, the Santa Monica Mountains, and the Ballona wetlands. What have you done to protect the environment?

I have made protecting the environment and encouraging sustainability a priority in my first term, authoring legislation and working with Mayor Eric Garcetti to advance a progressive environmental platform. It is our sacred obligation to protect this planet and its environment for future generations. That is why I have done the following:

Fighting for Clean Energy
Working with the Sierra Club, I have co-authored legislation that created a research collaborative with the sole mission of charting a smart and achievable path to 100% clean energy in Los Angeles. Through this effort, Los Angeles could become the largest city in the nation to achieve 100% clean energy and an international beacon for the clean energy revolution that will prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

Stopping Fracking and Taking on the Oil and Gas Industry
I co-authored the Los Angeles Fracking Moratorium and took on the oil and gas industry on a number of fronts, including working to stop “oil bomb trains” from running through Los Angeles.

Protecting Water Quality and Encouraging Conservation
I wrote common-sense legislation to: stop watering city lawns that are scheduled for replacement with drought-tolerant landscaping; use tiered pricing for water rates to increase conservation; and cutting through red-tape to make it cheaper and easier to install home water recycling systems. My work on water issues has also included efforts to protect the quality of our water, fighting to protect the Santa Monica Bay from polluted stormwater runoff by breaking ground on two water reclamation and treatment projects (both funded by Prop O) that capture and clean stormwater before it reaches the Bay. One of them is at Penmar Park in Venice.

Protecting Neighborhood Trees
I won precedent-setting rulings against developers who illegally chopped-down protected trees in a Westside neighborhood. I have worked to get more trees trimmed on the Westside to ensure a healthy urban forest, and I introduced legislation to hold contractors accountable for trimming according to the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A300 standards. I also fought to have the protection of neighborhood trees be a major part of the city’s recently approved sidewalk repair plan.

Transportation Leadership
Some of my most significant environmental leadership has been my work on the Metro Board of Directors, where I am helping to take cars off the road by expanding public transportation. I led the successful charge to finally connect LAX with our rail system, which will not only take a ton of cars off the Westside streets I represent, but will keep tons of carbon pollution out of the air. The Metro/LAX connection is part of a comprehensive approach to revolutionizing how people get to and from the region’s largest airport, and I am working to create other convenient and sustainable facilities, such as a consolidated rental car center, an intermodal transportation facility, and an automated people mover that will make it quick and simple to get to the airport without ever needing to get into a single-passenger vehicle. I also served as the Chair of the Expo Line Construction Authority, working with neighborhood and transportation activists to ensure the Westside finally got a rail line that would help people get around LA without their cars.

Creating Open Space
I worked to expand open space on the Westside, championing opportunities to give my constituents more ways to enjoy the outdoors. We are working to open Via Dolce Park on the east bank of the Grand Canal, and we are making progress toward the completion of Potrero Canyon park – a 45.7 acre passive open space park with riparian habitat in the Pacific Palisades. Additionally, I won approval for a plan for the vacant land north of LAX that will include nearly 50 acres of open space for the community to enjoy.

Making it Safer and Easier to Walk and Bike in LA
Nearly half of all trips taken in LA are less than three miles, and eighty-seven percent of those trips are taken by car. We can improve our neighborhoods and protect the environment by making it easier and safer to walk and bike in LA, taking cars off the road and potential pollution out of the air. I won approval of the Mobility Plan 2035 – a planning document that will create a bike network throughout Los Angeles and will vastly improve how we plan and design our city to better protect bicyclists and pedestrians who opt not to rely on cars for transportation. I am also a champion of the city’s Vision Zero commitment, which seeks to end traffic fatalities in LA by 2025 by reducing vehicle speeds on local streets and incorporating better street design to protect pedestrians from cars.

Taking on Monsanto
I authored legislation to stop the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks from using Monsanto’s “Roundup” pesticides and to instead explore safer and more sustainable options.

Supplemental Question 4:

What achievements are you most proud of?

  1. Passing a $15 citywide minimum wage: This landmark legislation set a precedent that the state and other communities followed. It will positively change the lives of millions.
  2. Shaping and winning voter approval of Measure M, which will invest billions in mass transit, traffic relief and road repair.
  3. Shaping and winning voter approval of Proposition HHH, which allow us to house 10,000 homeless people.

 

Robin Rudisill

 

1.Venetians west of Lincoln Blvd want preferential parking.  They feel preferential parking would solve many of the parking and camping issues in Venice.  It has been stated that the council office is the one dragging its feet to meet the California Coastal Commission minimum requirements to get preferential parking.  If elected, what steps would you take to get preferential parking in Venice west of Lincoln.  Why do you feel this has this not been done?  Would you make this a priority?

Preferential parking in the Coastal Zone is both a dream and a nightmare….and it’s not just a question of who’s for it or against it. The Venice Coastal Zone Certified Land Use Plan requires that any public parking place that is removed from general public parking, must be replaced with a new public space. So if we did permit parking for the whole coastal zone, we’d have to provide that many more spaces, and that’s simply not going to happen. However, it’s possible we could do limited areas of permit parking. Then the question would be, who gets the benefit of the parking and who doesn’t! If we need parking for the elderly and handicapped, we can probably do those as designated spaces, but to do permit parking, we would have to come up with a system to decide who has the greatest need, or who is willing to pay to provide new public parking spaces, or some other system to decide how they would be allotted. This is why, despite the ongoing outcry for permit parking, no one has actually taken it on. I know this isn’t the answer people want to hear, but if it makes anyone feel better, we should remember that we have the Coastal Act to thank for keeping Venice from turning into a solid beachfront of high-rises, like Miami Beach. And part of the price we pay for that protection is that we have to provide and promote coastal access to visitors, including those from other communities of CD-11 and our own city.

2.  It appears self-evident that the sale of the Thatcher Yard and the Venice Median Parking lot would house many more homeless if the properties were sold and monies used to build elsewhere.  How would you, or do you,  justify building on these lots knowing this or would you sell and build elsewhere.

With regard to Thatcher Yard, the answer is fairly straight forward. I would first meet with the City officials responsible for the maintenance yard, to better understand why they believe it is no longer needed. It seems that the Westside needs such a yard and I cannot think of any reason why the Westside’s requirements for such a yard have reduced so dramatically as to not need the entire Thatcher Yard any more. If this proposed change is being done for the wrong reasons, it would be a costly mistake to convert it from Public Facility and then soon find out it is needed after all and then have to acquire additional City property for it on the Westside, at a higher cost. That said, this possible change has already been vetted by the Community and the decision was that such a site would become R1 if the City decides to abandon operations at the site. I would ask the community members to tell me if they still agree with that policy recommendation. Also, this property is right in the middle of one of only a couple of R-1, single-family neighborhoods in the Venice Coastal Zone. As our certified Land Use Plan states, the character, scale and stability of our single-family residential neighborhoods must be protected. Under Measure S, no General Plan Zone change may be done.

With regard to the Venice Median Parking lot, it’s complicated. This lot is in the Coastal Zone and our General Plan Venice Community Plan, which includes the Certified Land Use Plan, designates the Venice Median parking lot as Open Space, meant for beach parking. It’s very doubtful that the Coastal Commission will approve a zoning change if the change is not going to increase coastal access. That means it’s dubious as to whether they’d approve the supportive housing project, but it’s even more dubious that they would approve the sale of the lot for some other use, unless it expands coastal access. And there’s another wild card; if Measure S passes, nothing can be built there for at least two years, except for more parking.

If I lived in that neighborhood, I’d also be very wary of encouraging the City to sell that lot in order to build elsewhere. Is it the neighbors suggesting this option, or is it real estate developers? To sell it, the City would have to change the zoning, and by the very logic of your question, the City would need to zone it to get the highest possible price. That would mean the biggest, tallest buildings possible, with the largest number of apartments or condos. Remember, this is the City that just gave Rick Caruso a zoning change to build 140 feet above the existing 45 ft height limit, and Mike Bonin just gave his blessing to the Martin Cadillac project, which is going to add over 7,000 vehicle trips per day to the most congested spot on the Westside, even though he knows it’s going to gridlock sixteen surrounding intersections. All this is beyond the beyond of unacceptable and makes a complete mockery of our planning laws and codes.

I would honor the provisions of our Land Use Plan, which was certified by the Coastal Commission to serve the mandate of the California Coastal Act. If we start playing with the rules governing the Venice Median Parking lot, we chip away at the protections that currently benefit all residents of the Coastal Zone, as well as at the public beach access to which we all have a right and from which all Californians benefit. As I have been saying, I will look for other options that don’t abuse our planning laws, don’t violate our coastal laws, and don’t cause severe strife in our neighborhoods. I will look for existing buildings that can be repurposed for supportive housing and for ways to quickly build small housing units using new models, and I will focus on using city land that won’t be subject to a Measure S moratorium. The homeless crisis is too important to invite major delays in providing the related housing.

3. The mayor and our city council are advocating enthusiastically to bring the 2024 Olympics to Los Angeles.  According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “A growing number of economists argue that both the short- and long-term benefits of hosting the games are at best exaggerated and at worst nonexistent, leaving many host countries with large debts and maintenance liabilities.” Given that the city already has the worst traffic in the country and a looming budget,  what is your basis for supporting the  L.A. 2024 Olympics?

We should be cautious, but it could be beneficial. In ’84, the Olympics brought a huge burst of vitality and creativity to the City. It gave the arts a major boost, as well as commerce. So I wouldn’t turn the Olympics down, but I’d make darn sure we host them on our terms, with all the caution and skepticism that such a large endeavor requires. The Games have a long history of picking host cities’ pockets. However, in 1984, Los Angeles was the first city to host the Games without taking a gouge out of the City budget or putting the City in serious long-term debt. So it’s possible, or at least it was with the political leadership we had 30 years ago, with Peter Ueberroth running the effort.

We have the advantage of already having almost all the needed infrastructure in place – the venues, the dorm housing, the media – that few other cities can match. The question is whether our City decision makers will be sufficiently responsible to keep expenses in line. Will they be watchdogs, or simply cheerleaders? From what I’ve seen, they’ve been all too eager hand out taxpayers’ money for pet projects, from hotels to tech companies.

As the Olympics get closer, the pressure will build to finish projects in time for the games, and that’s when the purse strings get loosened. My financial experience, as CFO and Controller for Bank of America FSB and other banks, gives me the skills to protect the taxpayers from the dangers that come with a huge event like the Olympics.

4.  What is the one question you feel has not been asked that you would like to answer?  Possibly, there is more than one question.

How does the Coastal Act affect any of these questions? Bonin seems to be assuming the City can do whatever it wants, but state law trumps City law, and the Coastal Act mandates coastal access and “coastal dependent” uses.

Why is Bonin allowing Snapchat to run roughshod over the community, breaking land use and state housing (Mello Act) laws and turning areas of the Venice Coastal Zone into a corporate campus?

What good is the Mello Act, a state law protecting housing in the Coastal Zone, and especially affordable housing, if the City has no intention of enforcing it? Why has Bonin’s Mello Act implementation ordinance been sitting at the PLUM Committee for over a year, while illegal conversions and evictions go on without the Council Office lifting a finger to answer our cries for them to stop this?

Why has the Councilmember allowed over two thousand units of housing, much of it affordable, to be illegally converted into short-term rentals during the worst housing crisis in the City’s recent history?

Why has the Councilmember consistently refused to meet with Oakwood activists trying to save their community from destruction and over-development, even after numerous violations by developers had been uncovered?

Why is the Councilmember spending City money on a private security force for the BID along the beach, instead of getting us the police we need?

Why did the Coastal Commission rescind its grants to the City for the Local Coastal Program, which Bonin had declared his #1 priority at the beginning of his term? Or put another way, why did the Councilmember Bonin fail to meet a single one of the grants’ benchmarks over the past four years?

 

Mark Ryavec

1.Venetians west of Lincoln Blvd want preferential parking.  They feel preferential parking would solve many of the parking and camping issues in Venice.  It has been stated that the council office is the one dragging its feet to meet the California Coastal Commission minimum requirements to get preferential parking.  If elected, what steps would you take to get preferential parking in Venice west of Lincoln.  Why do you feel this has this not been done?  Would you make this a priority?

I would introduce a Motion to implement Jim Murez’s proposal to count all the Beach Impact Zone parking spaces which have been built since the Venice Local Coastal Specific Plan was adopted about 25 years ago.  BIZ parking is in addition to code required parking and was built specifically to provide parking to visitors.  These should be traded for Coastal Commission approval to convert an equal number of street spaces to preferential parking for residents.  This has not been done because Mr. Bonin is hostile to the concept of preferential parking for residents; I know this because Bill Rosendahl told me this during our earlier fight for overnight restricted parking.

2.  It appears self-evident that the sale of the Thatcher Yard and the Venice Median Parking lot would house many more homeless if the properties were sold and monies used to build elsewhere.  How would you, or do you,  justify building on these lots knowing this or would you sell and build elsewhere. 

I would re-zone the Thatcher Yard to R1 and sell it and place the proceeds in the City Housing Trust Fund to build units on less expensive land inland.  I would leave the decision on the deposition of the Venice Blvd. Median lots to the residents and VNC.  It could remain a parking lot, it could be ground-leased for a mix of underground automated parking, market rate condos and work force apartments, some open space, performance space/small theater, ground floor retail along Pacific, and maybe studio/living units for low income artists.  I would work with the community and neighbors to see what people would like to see there, if anything.  Just because Bonin “gave” it to the Mayor for inclusion in the Mayor’s budget as a site for homeless housing does not in my estimation mean that it could not just remain as parking.

3. The mayor and our city council are advocating enthusiastically to bring the 2024 Olympics to Los Angeles.  According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “A growing number of economists argue that both the short- and long-term benefits of hosting the games are at best exaggerated and at worst nonexistent, leaving many host countries with large debts and maintenance liabilities.” Given that the city already has the worst traffic in the country and a looming budget,  what is your basis for supporting the  L.A. 2024 Olympics?

We proved in 1984 that Los Angeles is an exception to the rule that says all Olympic cities lose money and end up terribly in debt.  We have even more sports facilities than in 1984 so I’m confident that we can pull off a spectacular, debt-free Olympic Games.  We handled traffic well in 1984 and now have added mass transit with more coming online before 2024, so I think we can handle the traffic, too.

4.  What is the one question you feel has not been asked that you would like to answer?  Possibly, there is more than one question.

The question that I think should be asked is what would I do if the Trump Administration moves to lease federal lots off shore to renew oil drilling off of LA’s coast.

With my long history fighting both on-shore and off-shore oil drilling, I would use the council position to lead efforts with other cities and environmental organizations and the Coastal Commission to block at every turn resumption of oil drilling along the California coastline.  We owe it to our residents and our tourist-driven economy to preserve the coast and ocean from the environmental degradation we saw decades ago in Santa Barbara and more recently in the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico.  No matter what assurances the oil industry gives, no technology is fail proof.  And we must continue to move away from fossil fuels while continuing to invest in renewable energy sources.

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