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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Westminster Senior Center “Discussion” Was Chaos, “Feel Heard”


Two distinct groups with different goals got together Thursday night at the Westminster elementary school to: 1) receive input from residents; 2)hear about the Westminster Senior Center “planned” conversion to a homeless storage facility from proper sources. Chaos ensued.

Several city, county organization representatives got together to get input from residents regarding the Westminster Senior Center homeless “stuff” storage. These representatives were hoping for details of what residents sought for things, such as security, perhaps operating hours, etc. The plan was that all would get in little groups and discuss these issues. A representative would write requests down. That never happened. Someone did write on a tablet.

Residents got together to hear what several city, county organizations were doing with the Westminster Senior Center. They had been told by Councilman Mike Bonin he wanted it for storage; construction work was/is a fact. They had piece-meal data. There was a city permit for upgrading Westminster Senior Center. Yet they were told it would be a storage facility. There was no record of “change of use” hearing or approval?” Where is the coastal commission on this? They really wanted the whole story. Residents wanted to know.

According to Taylor Bazley, Venice representative from Councilman Mike Bonin’s office, there will be two more meetings– 6 and 27 October, Westminster Elementary School, 6 to 8 pm. Representatives present from the City and County were: Councilman Mike Bonin’s office, City Attorney, Recreation and Parks, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

DeDe Audet and Jim Murez both asked where was the plan. They both stated that one does not propose a project without a plan. There was no plan that was made public.

David Ewing said it all appeared to be a “proactive attempt to conceal.”

Heidi Roberts had this to say the next day. “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.

“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.

“LAHSA and Recreation and Parks 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.”

Comments (2)

  1. lee

    Remember this article quoting Bonin during election in 2013

    [Bonin said. “My job is to listen to all of those voices and to invite people to be heard.”

    Bonin pledges to continue outgoing Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s transparent approach with constituents and plans to hold office hours twice a month at different locations.]

    where are your listening skills and transparent approach now toward the families of the Venice community!

  2. lee

    what a crock they figured out a way to justify their camouflage. We all know once this is a “Temporary” homeless site it will become permanent problem just for the their agenda, to get government funding is fulfilled. CD11 did the same thing with the beach storage site. No hearings were held. There are always hearings held for changes of use, temporary or not. This was fast racked so they are voted a big fat “No.” If any of us attempted to start construction before permits and start work at 7:30 a.m. they would have sited us and threatened fines and tried to collect on fines. But what can you do in the face corruption in elected positions!

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