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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Was the Town Hall Panel– Garcetti, Councilman, Chief — Listening to the Venetians

By Reta Moser

When Chief of Police Michel Moore during the Town Hall said he would enforce the beach curfew and starting tonight, there was a silent sigh of relief … maybe disbelief. Many felt someone had finally heard Venice.

The panel, consisting of the Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilman Mike Bonin, and Chief of Police Michel Moore heard many a complaint that Venice was lawless, would continue, and that with the bridge housing would get even worse.

Venice homeless make up is different — 90 percent transient; 75 percent addicted
What the Mayor and Councilman do not understand and which many residents tried to explain is that the “make up of the homeless in Venice” is not homeless from Venice, or perhaps, like other areas. The makeup of homeless in Venice are from all over the United States (and many from out of the country), not Venice, and 75 percent of them are addicted to either drugs or alcohol. They are having a party in Venice.

The 75 percent figure was given by both former police Captain Nicole Alberca and Regina Weller, former head of the Venice Homeless Task Force. They further stated the transient population in Venice was 90 percent. One of them said 95 percent and the present Captain James Roberts said these figures were “about right.”

“We own the streets.”
These people are having a blast in Venice as owners and tenants stand aghast, unable to do anything. As the homeless say: “We own the streets.” They wave their cups for money the minute you enter Venice at the Marina freeway and Washington Blvd. The law for solicitation at highway entrances has been upheld to be enforceable. Lincoln is route 1; Marina Freeway is state route 90 at the intersection of route 1. Uphold it!

This street has been trying to get this encampment removed. They violate the ADA rules for access and one can’t even park.

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Crime is up in Venice. Car breakins, tire slashing, stealing, bike theft, panhandling, defecating on public and private property, etc, are not reported. Where do addicts get their money for drugs or alcohol.

Venetians are compassionate and giving
Councilman Mike Bonin continues to talk of two homeless people found in Venice who have been placed, as if Venetians didn’t care. Venice is sympathetic to the homeless. They have donated thousands of dollars to help the homeless. Regina Weller operated on private donations from Venetians. In the over 400 she found permanent housing for, she never placed one who was from Venice although she only operated in Venice.

She insisted that alcoholics and drug addicted people go thru rehab before placement, otherwise they would hinder those in houses where they would be placed and the probability of them leaving housing was very high. Many addicted to alcohol or drugs do not want to be housed. Sometimes they have a moment of wanting to leave their friends, but in most cases, it isn’t lasting.

Bridge for Venice, placing, not placing addicted
They Mayor mentioned that they would not be placing the addicted and then changed his statement to say they would be placed in bridge homes if the City decided to change the rules for Venice. Venice would have rules peculiar to Venice he said. Certainly, one would think they would place those most wanting help first.

Yes, Venice has homeless criminals
The City claims that some of the homeless are not former criminals in Venice. This reporter met one man from Columbus, Ohio who had served 27 years. He had a friend he was talking with who said he was a former criminal too and he couldn’t get a job. They volunteered this information. This reporter would never have asked. So yes, some of the homeless are former criminals. How many?

City studying alternatives; Venetians have alternatives
The Mayor mentioned they were exploring other alternatives. Brian Ulf, chairman  of  board for SHARE!, who helps the homeless thru SHARE! said he had 2000 places available and was waiting for funding to place Venice homeless. It costs time and money to set these people up with their social security numbers, disabilities, and get the money for the rent until the individual’s money starts. This is cheap and fast compared to the bridge concept. SHARE! does take the addicted.

Heidi Roberts and her husband John Betz, both from Venice, have purchased several four-bedroom duplexes, in various areas. They now house 68 former homeless. The team of Roberts and Betz started this year and opened their first place in April that housed 16. They plan to continue doing such. This is so much cheaper, faster than is the bridge concept.

So is the Mayor disingenuous when he says “we are investigating alternatives.” So is the 2.4 million for the El Pueblo, which houses 45, the wrong approach? Did the Mayor, Councilman, Chief understand that the makeup of the homeless in Venice is different than other areas. Would a bridge home be appropriate for Venice? Would it be overkill for Venice? Why not fund Brian Ulf. He will find housing for those wanting housing? Why not do as Roberts and Betz and be a provider that way?

Comment (1)

  1. Barbara Gibson

    Thank you Chief Moore. Will the chief please send his officers to Rose ave and vicinity? Those from the beach will be moving inland camping around the 3rd Ave area. We need the police presence all around Venice.

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