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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Bridge Housing Measure Tabled at August VNC Meet

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By Angela McGregor

Tuesday night’s meeting of the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Board drew a large and vocal crowd, most of whom were there to debate the merits of a Bridge Housing development in Venice.

The motion on the agenda, titled “VNC Support for Concept of Bridge Housing in Venice with a Community Benefits Agreement”, contained a “President’s Note” that the motion was “not about the MTA Bus Yard”, despite recent mailers and phone calls from Councilman Bonin’s office specifically referring to the use of the Bus Yard for Bridge Housing.

The meeting opened with the usual motion to approve the meeting’s agenda, at which point Board member John Reed immediately proposed to amend the agenda to table the Bridge Housing Item to a future meeting. He explained that this was motivated by an email from Councilman Mike Bonin’s office that the Board had just received announcing that the Mayor’s office was initiating a feasibility study to determine whether or not the MTA Bus Yard was suitable for such a project.

In light of the promise of forthcoming clarification of some of the most contentious issues with the project, including whether or not the bus yard is environmentally suited for it — Reed contended that a vote on Bridge Housing would be premature.

VNC Homeless Committee Members Hollie Stenson and Sunny Bak — who both voted in favor of the motion at the July VNC Homeless Committee meeting — each stated that they felt more vetting of the project was necessary prior to a vote in order to gain the public’s trust. VNC Homeless Committee Chairman Will Hawkins argued vigorously in favor of leaving the item on the agenda, since it was merely a referendum on whether or not the concept of Bridge Housing would be appropriate for Venice and would ultimately result in the reduction of homeless encampments.

Any future discussion of the merits of a specific site for the project would be taken up by the Land Use & Planning Committee (LUPC), at which point the results of the City’s feasibility study could be taken into account. The motion to table the Bridge Housing motion to a future meeting of the VNC Board narrowly passed, 8-7, with Board President Ira Koslow abstaining.

Koslow encouraged the many Venetians who’d shown up to make their opinions known on the now-tabled motion to stay and state their opinions in general comments. Many did, and comments were relatively equally divided between those in favor and those opposed.

Many in favor indicated that “something has to be done” to address the crisis, while many of those opposed expressed concerns that the project would be located too close to residences.

Tanaz Golshan, a representative from Mayor Garcetti’s office, spoke for several minutes regarding Bridge Housing, describing it as “not the typical shelter” and “a whole new concept” — “interim” housing rather than shelter beds, with residents — all of whom would be from local encampments — required to accept services in order to stay. The facility would also feature 24/7 security and result in increased clean up and enforcement of laws in Venice’s homeless encampments.

The other contentious item on the Board’s agenda — the construction of a 77 unit, mixed use building at 2454 Lincoln Blvd. (the current site of the Lincoln Millennium Car Wash) — was also shelved. The motion on the agenda recommended denial of the project due to, among other things, a flawed traffic study, disregard for community concerns regarding traffic and alley access, and the lack of a shade study. According to LUPC Chair Matt Royce, the applicant had decided not to attend the Board meeting.

In other VNC Board-related news, Matt Shaw has been removed from the Board due to too many absences, and so his Community Officer seat is now vacant and Venice Stakeholders are encouraged to apply.

Comments (22)

  1. Rick Swinger

    Will Hawkins Take a look at 3rd today I just got back doing a video of the lack of Sanitation there today which is the day LA Sanitation is suppose to clean up and once again they are a no show. Its 11am and I Interviewed a homeless man that says the LAPD are not ticketing on 3rd but anywhere else he would get a ticket. This is selective ticketing which is a violations of our written laws. This is seeming more like the City is blackmailing us and as a group there is ongoing discussions about suing our city now!

  2. Rick Swinger

    I know some of the transients would prefer to live and camp in Slab City an artistic homeless community of squatters farther south of here near the Salton Sea but have no way to get there. Its a great artistic homeless community and now that summer is almost over and the beach will be getting colder I think we should all pitch in and have a weekly freedom bus journey to Slab City set up for the Venice homeless that need a change of venue.

  3. Venice guy

    I wonder what kind of deal Will Hawkins has cut with the social service mafia in Venice. He sounds just like them. Venice doesn’t have a homeless problem. Venice has a criminal problem that needs to be addressed by the VNC. We need a comity in the VNC that focuses on Residential Crimes.

  4. Celeste Chada

    What’s disturbing is that the volunteer chair of the VNC homeless committee has become a de facto shill for the social service organizations. There is zero impartiality and the hostility with which Will interacts with actual tax paying residents is disgraceful. Will you are to represent the residents of Venice and to keep an open, impartial mind regarding decisions.

    What has happened is that Will is now an advocate for VCH and Mike Bonin. Will should absolutely recuse himself from all future decisions related to homeless in Venice.

    By Bonin’s own admission – as recently as yesterday at Cow’s End – there are zero concrete details that can be given to residents. Bonin did explain that if people are stubborn and insist on remaining on the street around the perimeter of the MTA site, that the only deterrent will be increased sanitation. We all know that is an absolute failure as a deterrent. The Penmar encampment was cleared for maybe an hour after sanitation swept through. The encampment was completely repopulated a mere two hours later.

    This entire situation is a disgrace and insulting to residents with deep stakes in this community.

    • Will Hawkins

      First off VCH has nothing to do with bridge housing. It’s not what they do and I’m no shill. Im out here donating my time to help reduce homelessness in our community.

      You obviously didn’t read the motion presented to the VNC last week or you would have seen that it was written to protect the community by giving it a say and holding the city accountable. Which is exactly what the majority of stakeholders I talked to said they wanted.

      What’s disturbing is how some who oppose any type of solution purposefully distracted from that message to create fear, doubt and suspicion to make this a referendum about the metro yard when it had absolutely nothing to do with the location. the motion demanded that the community Was part of the decision making process. And now is the time for that bc there is no plan yet. We had a chance to have a voice but the VNC blinked and postponed the vote on this motion, leaving the city to move forward without our input. That’s the motion you shouted down last week.

      The Homeless committee’s mission statement is to support programs, services and organizations that reduce homelessness and that’s what bridge housing does. So, of course we would support the concept of Bridge Housing…bc it gets people off the street. The land usage aspect of this project is for LUPC to weigh in on for they are the “Land Usage and Planning Committee”.

      As an unpaid volunteer elected official I’ve created programs here in Venice that have not just reduced homelessness, but have also saved the city (and taxpayers) millions of dollars in housing and services. The only thing I’m advocating for now is for us to take immediate action to solve this homeless crisis. And right now bridge housing is the best solution on the table.

      If you don’t like it then I suggest you do something about it and come up with another option we can execute here in Venice that promises to do the same thing.

      • Sea

        We have presented many other solutions over the years , only to deaf ears.
        You all don’t listen and keep hammering the same thing over and over again,
        I feel like I’m watching Fox News, or a Republican rally.
        It’s interesting how you state you are an elected volunteer (how many votes, 200?) Who wants to solve the homeless crisis, you’ve run the wrong race, your in the wrong position, what is your true agenda, how are you using this issue to further your future career, do you plan on becoming a paid politician
        Venice can not solve the homeless crisis your proposals will only exacerbate the issue ,
        and why no response to our simple demands,
        NOT AT THE BEACH, NOT IN OUR PARKS AND NOT IN RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS…simple

        • Will Hawkins

          I hear you loud and clear. Anywhere but here. Keep hiding behind that avatar. Must be safe and warm in there. Carry on.

          • Sea

            Why not Mark Ryaveck’s great proposal of WLA DWP lot that’s in a commercial/industrial area far from residents, a great solution presented many times, only to fall on deaf ears, why?because it’s not in Venice?
            Just keep hammering your agenda, as it is the only solution, I have offered for 15 years, 20 acres for $1 a year long term please, no takers, Why? It’s not in Venice, if you were as smart as you think you are, you would know who I am, no hiding here…FAKE NEWS
            NOT AT THE BEACH, NOT IN OUR PARKS AND NOT IN RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS, simple

          • Will Hawkins

            Send me your number and let’s work it out.

  5. Rick Swinger

    Will Hawkins we have had debates online where you have said you won’t support any tent camping in Los Angeles even to the point of slandering the good name of this company ( sweetwaterbugalows.com ) manufacturer of canvas tents saying their tents are a fire hazard. They are a great manufacturer of canvas tents that have been used by parks, county fairgrounds and hotels. These tents are manufactured in Fresno, Mariposa and Truckee are NOT a fire hazard. Now having said that we want the homeless to have these tents but in a nonresidential area NOT in Venice where our coastline is an environmental and economic treasure! No need to bring in more Serial Poopers than we have here all ready polluting the very sand children play in!

    • Will Hawkins

      That’s not what I said at all Rick. Once again you misrepresent what other people say to support your transparent agenda.

      You requested time to give a presentation at the homeless committee meeting and didn’t show up, so your friend made the presentation for you. Then you wanted a second shot at it and I turned you down bc we already heard the proposal once. What I said to you then was “if you believe in it then go get it done”.

      At the time you suggested that the location for your “tent city” concept could activate at the Rose Ave parking lot…right on the beach. Now for some reason the prospect of doing something similar in a more permanent structure with bathrooms and showers a block off the beach at the Metro Yard with promised enhanced sanitation and police enforcement for the surrounding area offends you. How times have changed.

      The bottom line is that when you house people they have bathrooms and showers and they no longer have to use your backyard. And when you house people they ain’t homeless anymore. It’s a pretty simple concept.

      We need homless solutions here in Venice and any option that you suggest that includes shipping people to Victorville isn’t a solution. It’s time to get real about what needs to be done around here. You asked for solutions, you’ve been offered solutions…and now your ignoring solutions. smh.

      • Rick Swinger

        Will Hawkins Thats simply Not true. Don’t forget I screen saved our debates. I never said Im in favor of a camp at Rose ave Parking lot. I never had the presentation I was offered period. While you allowed a 20 minute presentation of those $20,000 Modular Shelters you were hawking My team was never given the same time to answer question about their $1200 alternative You just counted a one minute speaker time of a friend who just mention it without the needed information Sweet Water Bungalow was going to give with a complete set up of one of their Canvas tents. Now i did say that near LAX there is land that would be good for a tent camp but after the awareness of these serial poopers I think its best we camp them farther away from our Marine environment so our children can play safe in the sand.

        • Will Hawkins

          I don’t recall it going down that way…but for everyone’s sake let’s stick with the right now rather than rehash the past ad nauseam.

          Right now…bridge housing would provide housing WITH bathrooms and showers for 100 ppl who rotate out when permanently housed. This facility could ultimately help house up to 500 people over three years. That could be 500 ppl not living in encampments and not crapping in your backyard anymore.

          So, I don’t know why you think kids at the beach wouldn’t be able to play safe in the sand. If anything…Venice would be cleaner and safer for residents and tourists. And sanitation/LAPD would be cleaning up area encampments so moms could walk their kids to school without having to be concerned anymore. Which is what everyone has been asking for.

          It’s clear to me that you’re embedded in your position and nothing I say will change your mind. But, the sooner we own this the sooner we fix this. You gotta stop trying to kick the can down the road to another neighborhood. Any solution we come up with needs to be a Venice-based solution or nothing here will change.

          We have an opportunity to lead here. Let’s not be the community that blinks.

          • Rick Swinger

            Will Hawkins one of the reasons why the VNC meetings had so many folks against this MTA camping site is we have been this route before with promises of a cleaner environment. Remember if we only allowed Saint Joseph Center Corporation to build a giant Social Service Building on Hampton Dr they too would clean the whole block everyday they were open including the alley between Hampton and 3rd. Well that turned out to be a farce. For years the neighbors had to suffer through feces and needles and still are suffering.Remember I had to start a go fund me site to clean up our alley and 3rd? The pollution this corporation creates by their clients as they reneges on their city planning agreement stated here on this Veniceupdate site is enormous. So whats so different here? With all these social service we allowed in here now we are suckered in saying well the homelsss are here so lets build more social services. Come on Venice is fed up with this and its time Councilmember Mike Bonin builds nearer to his house in Mar Vista than coming down to Rose Area with more of the same creating such a fecal pollution that E.Coli tests are showing through the roof bacteria on our beach even while we have 24/7 bathrooms open. Until you make plans to deal with the serial poopers here we will always have this problem.

  6. Venice guy

    Will Hakins needs to be impeached from the VNC ASAP

    • VeniceMomCares

      Will is probably the only one on the VNC that actually gets anything done. He helped me and my neighbors get the encampment near our house cleaned up. It was completely out of control and we called the city for months and nothing happened until Will got involved and coordinated everything. It looks so much better now and I can finally walk down Venice Blvd with my kids again.

      • Jerome

        That was great work and he has done a lot of good no doubt. I respect him for that and his attempts to deal with this issue.

        But the shelter is robbing Peter to pay Paul. It helps in some places while rudely violating others. Not acceptable!

        • Will Hawkins

          Thank you VeniceMom and Jerome…What is really unacceptable is that we’re allowing people who’ve been approved for housing to die on our streets while their waiting for vacancies.

          This proposed temporary housing facility would house 100 people and rotate more in as people get housed permanently. Given that we have around 950 homeless here that facility would reduce homelessness in Venice by 12% on the very first day it opened and would continue to reduce homelessness as it continues to shuttle people through to permanent housing.

          It’s a shame people didn’t read the motion we presented because it actually protected the community and asked that the city meet with stakeholders and decide together what this would be (and where it would be) and then lock those terms into a contract so that we could hold the city accountable.

          The location wasn’t included in the motion because the homeless committee doesn’t deal with land usage…that’s for LUPC to weigh in on once there is a plan to present. Right now we need to discuss what this is, who it serves, what it looks like and where it’s gonna go.

          Postponing the motion just allows the city to move forward without our input or getting the assurances that the (CBA) contract would have given the community. We didn’t even get the chance to have a real discussion on the merits of the motion or answer any questions that may have cleared things up for board members and stakeholders. And that was a big mistake.

          We need to take the lead here and show the rest of the city how Venice attacks the issues we face and that we can show empathy, compassion and leadership when it counts. This has become an “All Hands On Deck” kinda problem and we can’t keep saying NO to every solution that’s presented. We gotta make some real sacrifices if we really want to change this losing trajectory.

          The homeless committee has worked diligently to help create and support programs that reduce homelessness here in Venice and has actually managed to house almost 60 people in the last two years through our Hope Reunification Program. We voted 7-0 to support bridge housing bc we saw it as a real opportunity to make a positive difference here. I think we need to give it a chance.

          • SEA

            A SMALL CITY THE SIZE OF VENICE CANNOT SOLVE THE NATIONS HOMELESS CRISIS, WE ARE NOT WILLING TO BE A SCIENCE PROJECT FOR MORE SERVICES WHICH WILL BRING MORE HOMELESS TO OUR RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS, WE HAVE ALWAYS SAID ” NOT AT THE BEACH, NOT IN OUR PARKS AND NOT IN RESIDENTUAL NEIGHBORHOODS”
            WHEN YOU FIND A SITE THAT MEETS THIS CRITERIA THEN WE CAN TALK ABOUT SOLUTIONS, SIMPLE

          • Will Hawkins

            First off, Venice is not a city it’s a very small neighborhood in a very big city. Second, we’re not looking to solve the Nations’s problems…wer’re looking to solve a problem right here.

            And providing housing is not the same as providing services and there’s no evidence that the facility will attract people who don’t live there. When you provide housing you’re actually gonna see a reduction of homelessness. That ain’t science, but it is how math works.

            Based on your post it doesn’t seem that you have a complete understand how this Bridge Housing works. What temporary housing is designed to do is directly benefit the community it’s actually in. And the city has promised enhanced clean ups by sanitation and more enforcement from LAPD in the direct vicinity of the facility which prevents more encampments from popping up.

            If we reject this opportunity and Bridge Housing is executed somewhere else in CD11…like I’m West LA.. Then West LA is the area that is gonna see cleaner streets, safer neighborhoods and fewer encampments….not Venice. Only those communities who make the sacrifice will receive the rewards that go with it.

            Given our homeless population and growing encampments Venice should be rushing to be the first on line for this program and then show the rest of the city how it’s done. Our goal should be to make the Venice shinning example of innovation, compassion and leadership. Instead we’re hiding behind postponements and anonymous online avatars saying that that immediate solution to our immediate problem belongs anywhere but here.

  7. SEA

    I WAS AT THE MEETING AND I FEEL MOST PEOPLE IN ATTENDANCE WERE AGAINST, THEY LEFT AFTER THE MOTION WAS PUNTED, AND DID NOT STAY FOR PUBLIC COMMENT, I WAS VERY UPSET THAT I TOOK OF WORK TO ATTEND ONLY TO FIND OUT IT WAS A WASTE OF TIME

  8. Nick Antonicello

    The Mayor’s Office is almost delusional and out-of-touch as the mayor himself. That presentation was pathetic and the reason why nothing can be accomplished because Garcetti and Bonin lack any credibility with the public, and both should have been at the meeting, but they refuse to engage the public so they send this poor soul who is told what to say and cannot really answer any questions because this is a done deal! Why do a study on a site they won’t use? The last hope is the Coastal Commission to stop this from happening and the Garcetti/Bonin forces were sent a temporary set back of sorts because they didn’t get the VNC to rubber stamp this terrible idea no one one supports. Why is some county bureaucrat from Meals on Wheels allowed to speak? Doe he live in Venice? Of course not. Why is that idiot from the county allowed to speak when she just lies and has nothing to contribute of relevance? When is her boss going to actually attend a single meeting of the VNC? Why are these political hacks even given a forum? So they can lie about the fact the MTA is really a done deal? That nothing is being done about the scooters or the homelessness at the beach? It is nauseating to listen to these absolute clowns pontificate when in fact they hate Venice and hate those who don’t want Venice transformed into a ghetto by these policies that will never work. How long are we going to wait for signs at the Bike Path? A year? Two years? 5 Years? How inept are people like Garcetti, Bonin and Keuhl?

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