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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

John Betz Letter to Heidi Roberts — Thank You

Your email succinctly describes the sentiments of the MAJORITY of venice residents. Thank you so much for your spot on summation of the facts.

As for getting any response from the City – good luck with that. I’ve been asking the councilman some fairly simple questions for over a week now with absolutely NO RESPONSE FROM ANYONE. My questions posed to the councilman have been:

1) What are you going to do about the permanent van encampment in the 1200 block of main street? Why has your office not seen to it that there are signs around the park prohibiting over-height vehicles from parking around the clock. If you lay the responsibility back on the community (collecting signatures to put the signs up), please tell me whose signatures and how many I must obtain for that block? My understanding – it is a block-by-block signature requirement – so for the blocks adjacent to the park, who has to sign? Parks and rec? Your office? Who is responsible for this? I suspect your office has the power to see this done, but has declined to do so. It needs to be done right away. Knowing the potential dangers, anything less is dereliction of your duty to your constituents.

2) Why have you chosen the Westminster Senior Center as a storage site? (And don’t tell me the it was chosen by LAHSA as I know that is not the case. I won’t say anymore about that unless you choose to go down that road of faulty reasoning.) You cite affordability as the reason, but if one were truly concerned with cost, there is no way anyone would use an ad valorem property to store a bunch of junk (or build “Junkie Manor”). That defies logic. Storage of junk (which we both know is what we are talking about) does not require a habitable structure 1/2 block from the beach on property that is arguable the most expensive price-per-square foot in LA. That is just crazy talk. All that is required is a watertight structure, such as an industrial shed (or a few sea containers, such as have been used successfully in the past). Whenever I see faulty logic in an issue like this it makes me strongly suspect that there is something else going on – something we are not being told.

3) Have you considered using the Metro Bus Yard for storage? If so, why was that options rejected? What other sites did you consider? Were there any others?

4) In your response to my previous email you said one way to make our streets safer in the post-ruling era is to offer a safe parking program. I disagree with that option. But, I am curious – what other options has the councilman considered to make our streets safer, and why did he reject them? Perhaps you should offer those up for the community to weigh and consider?

5) Has the City researched how it might craft a more narrow prohibition on living continuously in vehicles parked on the street? Just because one reg was found unconstitutional does not mean that a less broad restriction based on valid public safety concerns could be upheld as constitutional. Is the City working on this? Have they considered it? If not, why not? Your community needs some relief from this problem.

6) This question came up as a result of an email response received from LAPD telling us that we do not understand LAPD’s policies and restrictions regarding some LAMC sections. While I may not understand LAPD’s policies and restrictions regarding enforcement of some parts of the LAMC, I certainly would like to understand them (and why the LAMC is enforced differently in some parts of the City and in “some parks”). To that end, could you please tell me exactly why LAPD’s approach to enforcement is different in Venice than in other parts of the City. Why do the police in Hollywood enforce the restriction against camping in a park DURING THE DAY, but the police decline to do so in my community. In my opinion, I am entitled to the same level of enforcement as the citizens in other parts of the city (Pacific Palisades and Brentwood come to mind immediately).

7) When we put temporary storage on the beach two years ago, NOTHING CHANGED WITH REGARD TO JUNK BEING STORED ELSEWHERE IN PUBLIC!!!! The beach was still a mess. OFW was still a mess. Third street remained a pig stye. And nothing changed in the park. So if it didn’t work then, how does the councilman think it is going to work this time around? Moreover, the councilman argues that a storage program is necessary to resolve the homeless situation in Venice. If that were true, how did Santa Monica manage to do such a remarkable job of assisting the homeless without EVER EMPLOYING A STORAGE PROGRAM? Why does LA need to reinvent the wheel?

8) When is the councilman going to hold an open public hearing with an agenda specifically listing proposed alternatives to locating storage at the senior center? Same question apples to building “Junkie Manor” on the Venice Blvd median.

9) When is Chrysalis (I believe they are the proposed nonprofit organization) going to detail to the neighbors exactly how the proposed storage program is supposed to work? I think this is important for two reasons – both the neighbors AND Chrysalis need to be perfectly clear regarding what they are signing up for. (and you told the community you would do this before moving forward with any plan)

As of this writing, there are still about eight vans parked around the WDP (and the Westminster Senior Center) and permanent campers in the park every night.

The community and I await your responses.

Comments (3)

  1. anonymous

    To John Betz: I’d like to answer your questions on behalf of the majority of homeless and low income people of Venice and Los Angeles. Here is your answer: Your a bigot who thinks your entitled to push people out of Venice so that you can fulfill your dream of forming your own City by the sea. I should say more like a gestapo paradise by the sea with surveliance cameras everywhere, human microchipping, robots as pets, and private BID security shooing away people that aren’t boring. Have you been to Manhattan Beach school districts lately? I’m not racist, but I’m seeing nothing but blue eyed blonde haired rich kids coming out of that Manhattan Beach school district. Manhattan Beach is cool if you want to go sight seeing for rich white people. Other than that, it’s not a place you want to spend the day flying kites with your kids. What is with that mural on Venice Blvd area of the Venice Boardwalk? I believe latino and black people contributed equally to make this world a better place too.

    • anonymous

      You are conflating race with poverty, they are not the same thing. Most of the dangerous transients and many of the homeless are white – by your theory they should be doing well by virtue of their white skin color. NO, it irrelevant. What matters is hard work and values. Being addicted to meth and heroin and stealing and breaking into local homes is not an American value to be rewarded with oceanfront property. Sorry. And the idea of the transients and homeless (with felony convictions and perhaps worse, sex offenders) partnering to teach children at Westminster Elementary is ludicrous.

  2. I moved to Brooks Ave between Main and Pacific in 1986. I immediately became aware of the lack of legal, safe. free on street parking. Back then my letters relating to this problem were addressed to Ruth Galanter, after Ruth it was letters to Cindy Miscowski, then Bill Rosendahl. He even invited me to a one on one meeting to discuss the issue. We will fix it Jim ! I have flooded Mike Bonin with letters asking for the same thing. No response. Nothing has changed and now Mike Bonin has constructed a plan to help the homeless and is sweeping other important projects under the proverbial carpet. Mike is politically ambitious, and his primary constituents in Venice no longer trust him. He has his own private agenda. How sad.

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