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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Questions Remain after MTA Bus Yard Community Open House


(Photo courtesy of Daryl Barnett)

(Photo courtesy of Daryl Barnett)


By Angela McGregor

14 June 2018. Councilman Mike Bonin held a “Community Open House” at Westminster School Wednesday night regarding the proposed bridge housing for the former MTA Lot which, according to an emailed invitation “will provide opportunities for you to offer your feedback and input.”

But for the dozens of Venetians who attended with questions and concerns about issues as diverse and essential as public safety, CEQA and Coastal Development Approval, and the efficacy of providing emergency services and shelter for just 100 of the over 900 homeless on the streets of Venice, answers were unavailable.

Outside the event, homeless activist David Busch held a small media event wherein he stated his opposition to Bridge Housing due to the fact that these facilities will help a small portion of the over 20,000 homeless living on the streets and promise increased sanitation to clean up encampments (which he termed “inhumane”). He called for toilets, storage and other options to help this population to live “more safely” in their encampments as they wait for permanent, city-provided housing and services.

Meanwhile, attendees of the Open House entered the venue that, in lieu of seating, was lined with tables staffed by members of various homeless services organizations, including SPY, SHARE, LAHSA and the St. Joseph’s Center. These staffers were handing out information about their various organizations rather than anything specific to the MTA Lot Proposal.

A number of posters featured statistics about homelessness in Los Angeles. One of the few Bridge Housing-specific displays offered a variety of design options for the facility, and attendees were asked to indicate their preference for such items as “community garden”, “gathering place” and “space for pets” by placing a dot beside their choice on an easel board.

The final table asked for “questions and input” and offered attendees sheets of “Bridge Home” branded paper on which they could write questions. It was unclear how or when these would be responded to. A four-page flyer was offered which answered “Frequently Asked Questions”, but there was nothing on it that was not already to be found on the project’s website (www.BridgeHomeVenice.com). There is yet no design for the project, nor has a service provider been selected.

Councilman Bonin stood in the middle of the room, surrounded by supporters holding up pre-printed, “Everyone In” United Way placards while members of the media recorded his glowing assessment of the project and its community support. At one point, opponents of the project arrived holding up a yellow banner proclaiming “No Bridge Housing! Venice Says No!” and a couple of local residents were able to voice their concerns and objections to the project to Bonin directly before supporters once again closed ranks around him, raising their signs higher and making it impossible for anyone else besides the media to approach him.

The room was hot, stuffy and packed with stakeholders. Tempers flared. Several LAPD members were also present, and at least two attendees had to be escorted out after a scuffle.

It is unclear when or how Venetians will be able to have their say as to whether or not they feel this project should be built, or offer suggestions that would make it more acceptable to local homeowners and businesses. Because no motion regarding Venice Bridge Housing was passed at the most recent VNC Homeless Committee Meeting, the MTA Bus Yard Proposal will not be on the agenda of the upcoming VNC Board Meeting, which will be held this Tuesday, June 19th at 7 pm.

Despite the chaos and dissension, at 8 am on the morning after the Open House, Councilman Bonin Tweeted: “Great feedback, ideas and suggestions on how to make temporary homeless housing work at the former metro bus yard in Venice. Last night’s open house was a great success. #shedoes #VeniceSaysYes” and featured photos of his supporters holding up their signs, as well as photos of the aforementioned easel boards, covered with multi-colored dots.

Fox News referred to the Town Hall meet as “chaos.”

Comments (9)

  1. annie

    We need to have a list of the so called 11 Districts and a comprehensive plan about them, before we agree to the bus yard temporary shelter. Also how long do they mean by temporary, and when time is up, what then?
    One agency SHARE! in Culver City and Downtown has provided dozens (or much more) homes for disabled and mental health people and vets. Why is the city unable to either work with them or do something similar, instead of talking a lot without having a really comprehensive plan for those 11 districts?
    SHARE! has a website and can be reached at 1-877-SHARE-49 or 310 846 5271.
    Also, on Change.org, if you agree with above first lines, please sign the petition “Build new homeless services in every LA District 11 neighborhood, not just Venice!”, they are looking for 5,000 signatures, as of now they have 2,677 signatures.

    • Jerome

      There are 15 Los Angeles council districts. Venice is one community in district 11, which Mike Bonin represents. The other communities in his district are the Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Mar Vista, West LA, Playa Vista, Westchester, Playa del Rey, and Del Rey.

      The petition is at http://bit.ly/respectvenice

      The group behind it is trying to get as many signatures as possible, not just 5,000. Change.org sets a new target automatically every time a major milestone is passed.

  2. Learned humanity from mr. Bonin

    “This is an emergency, and this is nothing short of a matter of life and death. And it has taken us way too long to get to this moment,” Councilman Mike Bonin said. “We must act. If people are dying on the street, we do not say wait until we build a hospital before we treat them.”

  3. Helen Fallon

    Thank you for a factual reporting of another one of Bonin’s useless open houses. Frankly I’m surprised that he didn’t set up a table full of legos for residents to build their own version of homeless housing. Afterall, there were matchbox cars at the open house Bonin held for his ridiculous road diet. What I can’t figure out about this proposal is why it will only serve 100 when the old bus depot lot is so large.

  4. Rick Swinger

    When you want to control the media and the local residents you design a meeting where you limit the questions to written statements that you collect in a box therefore allowing your side to edit it. How can you trust Mr. Bonin when he doesn’t take open questions in front of the whole audience and just shows up encircling himself with his employees and friends. You can see from CBS NEWS he didn’t want to take their questions just like Trump! My statement and question openly to Mike Bonin is…. You have shown that you can’t control the Serial Poopers ( https://www.bbc.com/news/world-44395861 ) that defecate on purpose next to our storm drains that lead right onto our beach and contaminate the sand with E. Coli bacteria…. How can we trust you in managing or hiring a firm to watch a 100 plus campers next to our beach?

  5. KarlB

    I attended the gathering and applaud you for proper recording of the event on this blog.

  6. Rick Garvey

    I attended and thought it was a great event, I stayed the entire time and as a supporter of the project I did my best to seek out and engage people who were opposed, and I feel like I listened to them and my perspective was heard by them.

    I thought it was better than the model of 1 minute public comment from people who mostly just rule up their base.

  7. Jake long

    Bonin is the worst human that has ever dedicated his life to lying to his constituents. He cares for nothing but his own wallet and ability to take donations from developers while laughing at what he is doing to the great city of Venice and the homeless who deserve better.

  8. Nick Antonicello

    Mike Bonin is a political low-life. A creepy and ambitious Machiavellian character who used this event to advance a public policy proposal that lacks any public support, so he tries to manufacture endorsement with a political rally of his hacks, bureaucrats and cronies. He hates Venice and is determined to create a slum and ghetto by the beach. I’m happy I did not attend and when are true Venetians going to understand that Cityhood is the only viable option to his nonsense and PT Barnum style antics?

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