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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Stern Reports What is Happening at Venice Bridge Home

Note:This is a letter from Shawn Stern to Councilman Mike Bonin. Shawn lives across the street to the Venice Bridge Housing Project. He is the person who provided the Venice Update with photos of the project as it progressed. These are his observations of the project and its operation.

Council Member Bonin,

I live directly across the street from Venice Bridge housing and from what I see everyday there are perhaps 30-50 homeless people sheltered in a space designated for 154. When I go riding my bike through Venice and Santa Monica there are at least 100-200 people living on the boardwalk, 3rd & 4th Street south of Rose and Hampton as well as scattered throughout the neighborhoods. Why isn’t the Bridge housing full during this time of a pandemic? You want to help, yet the project you supported that has cost millions of tax payer $ sits at less than 1/3 capacity more than 40 days after opening.

Within the first days of opening, I had to let Security and staff know that the delivery entrance on Pacific was wide open and homeless people were wandering in and out. There was no lock on that gate the first 24 hours until I went to the front and told the security guard, who complained to me that they didn’t have enough radios. A lock has been on the gate since, but deliveries are made with no security supervision, so the gate is opened and residents are able to come and go, which is a safety concern.

There is constant yelling, screaming and bickering between residents as well as with homeless from the neighborhood stopping by. I was woken by a very loud verbal altercation Monday at 3am in the pouring rain between a resident inside the Pacific Ave delivery gate and 2 homeless men outside the gate on Pacific avenue cursing and threatening each other with violence. I’d say that it was hardly a chance encounter that the men happened to be arguing at 3am in the pouring rain, but there was no security anywhere in sight.

About 10 days ago I was verbally accosted by a young man as I watched him jump the fence around 12:30pm. He was leaving the facility and when I told him residents needed to use the main entrance, he told me he “just went in for the free lunch” and rode off on his bicycle cursing & yelling at me. The under 18 group of young people treat the space as a 24 hour playground, constantly yelling and screaming & fighting in the huge echo chamber of concrete that reverberates throughout the neighborhood at all times of the day and night.There are residents drinking and getting high on the sidewalks and alleys all around the space before they go in.

There are constant homeless people stopping by the gate on Pacific talking to residents inside and exchanging items through the fence. Security does nothing. There has been a very noticeable increase in homeless sleeping, arguing, yelling, urinating and defecating all around the perimeter of the MTA lot and in the streets and alleys surrounding the space. There has been NO enforcement of the Special Enforcement and Cleaning Zone (SECZ) around Bridge Home Venice.

In your email you talk about the Mayors advisory to wear masks, to social distance, to stay at HOME and your work to help the homeless, yet the project that you champion practices none of this. I have observed no social distancing being practiced & only recently have I seen anyone wearing masks and the few that do mainly seem to be staff. Residents come and go during the day, which increases the inevitability that someone will contract coronavirus and bring it back to the residents. This is a disaster waiting to happen & I have been asking for weeks for answers from staff at the facility and your office and the response has been that CDC guidelines are being followed, yet not the city guidelines? WHY?

You say you truly care about the homeless but when you and the staff of SPY and PATH are not implementing safety rules for the homeless at Bridge Home it seems to me that none of you are acting in the best interest of the residents. There are elderly and disabled residents there and it’s highly likely that many residents have health issues and are the most vulnerable to the virus and I don’t see anything being done for them.

You want support and cooperation from the neighborhood, then do more than lip service and start leading. Take control of Bridge Home Venice and implement safety protocols, social distancing, masks and stop allowing residents to come and go where they can easily contract the virus and bring it back to those who are staying inside. Have security do their job and secure the facility, stopping people from entering the facility by jumping fences, walking through the delivery gate & having items exchanged through the fence. Continuing the barbed wire from the existing fencing of the MTA lot across the approx. 50’ of new fencing by the gate would also help.

If you can afford to put up a TV satellite dish for the residents (that happened yesterday), you can certainly afford to enhance security for resident and staff safety. Implement noise and good neighbor rules so the loud screaming and yelling is at least enforced after 10pm and before 9 am. Fill the beds in the space, get the homeless off the street and HELP THEM stay safe from the virus.

And be transparent by reporting the problems and your proposed solutions to the neighborhood if you want support. Ignoring the problems and outright denial only makes them worse and if you truly care about helping the homeless and having the support of Venice residents then prove it.

Shawn Stern
Sunset Ave
Venice resident for over 35 years

Comments (23)

  1. Rick Swinger

    Easter Message to Mayor Garcetti…. Mayor Garcetti Please don’t get egg on your face for those folks crammed into your Bridge Shelters will have slim chance of “Social Distancing” and only one man we know of has risen from the dead. Please get these death traps out of our neighborhoods so we “ALL” can have Happy Easters Again! https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/10/us/coronavirus-san-francisco-homeless-shelter.html?fbclid=IwAR0gVLjhe_9qiMW6gizaV9KU41La7xzJ63MxN08y3K05KAdrNErYD-cXr7U

  2. The V.

    Yes, Mr. Bob. Way back, when there was a real Yo!Venice site/paper, we already covered all that in the Forums. We collectively decided that there was a very, very humanitarian, all-in-this-together Mindfulness to all of this…

    We collectively, online, decided that non F.A.A.-compliant, un-licensed, air-borne cameras above our kids in playgrounds & above our houses would promptly be shot down by “bb/air” guns.

    Jesus Christ– I’m talking too much. I’m getting onto the Blue AND the Red list now! Or am I Jewish? I don’t even know my own self anymore. I am trying so hard to be mindful of you…

    THANK YOU, Reta!

    • Reberta Jackson

      I remember your nuisance posts from back then. Thank god they banned them. Every time I read these posts I am reminded of the devastation this virus has spread.

  3. The V.

    Mr. Bob, please excuse me– I, foremost, had to excuse my Ladyself–

    I had gone out back behind ye olde shed to dun-gone piss my Pampers, because I was LOLing so hard at your Mindful Opinion.

    I like you, too xV

  4. Rick Swinger

    Don’t forget to post this on Mike Bonin’s Facebook site. He won’t listen but his office and supporters do read these comments. He will try to censor or bury it so post it in different pages he produces. Bringing awareness to this is so important and hashtag the media helps too. Thanks for this great article!

    • The V.

      Exactly. Bonin/Garcetti won’t listen, but their FB followers will read what you disperse. Hashtag, different sites etc.– eventually we’ll hit another Erin Brockovitch with the right strings to really get this job moving. VB has accomplished much crazier before… Light it up!

  5. Elections have consequences

    This is what Mike Bonin did to all of you enjoy it. You stupid fools.

  6. vicki

    A deadly accurate description of what is going on. Bridge housing residents congregate at the end of my block to meet their drug dealers. This week, when rousted by LAPD for loitering, they ran up and down the walk street, spitting on all our gates, yelling how they hoped we all got corona. SPY, especially, does nothing to work with their residents on how to behave in the neighborhood. Allison Hurst, SPY’s director, calls them her ‘little lambs”. Please.

    • Jon Hall

      Disarmed citizens encourage crime and violence. Armed citizens encourage criminals to find a safer line of work.

    • Jon Hall

      Disarmed citizens encourage crime and violence. Armed citizens encourage criminals to find a safer line of work.

      • The V.

        Please, Mr. Hall, if that is indeed your real name– practice Mindfulness, especially whilst double- replying on this site. Otherwise, we shall have to report you to The Mind Police, “Your papiers please, Dein Kommisaar” ;-(

        • Jon Hall

          The V is a real name lol It’s obvious you’re not a home owner in Venice just someone who likes to stir the pot. From the sound of it you must be smoking it too.

  7. Bonin,
    Ha, we a warmed you over a year ago this would happen. I think you knew it would happen too. But you just couldn’t resist the kick backs you would get.

    This is a disturbing situation, and I only see it getting worse. I urge you to step up or step down. You have insulted the neighbors and homeowners of Venice over and over again. We have no faith, no respect , and certainly no confidence in you what so ever.

    I ask you what are you going to do about this insane situation you have put everyone in!!! I ask you to do something about this immediately, I ask you to stop lying and letting our more than valid concerns be resolved in this matter.

    We are disgusted! We are angry. We are tired! We are on edge!. We are fed up! We are tired of being ignored! We are tired of you playing God!!!!

  8. Nicholas Antonicello

    The truth is finally exposed.

  9. NeighborsInDanger

    No matter what the city leaders say, there is no safety for anyone in or around where homeless are congregating, and there is no oversight or accountability:


  10. Concerned Venetian

    Shawn, I hope you send this letter to the media, and I would suggest Steve Lopez. While he is typically “pro-homeless”, he has written columns that are much more balanced and question our local “leadership” on their handling of all things to do with homelessness.

  11. Mark Welldon

    All I have to say to Shawn SternSunset Ave Venice resident for over 35 years. Go directly down to Martin B. Retting in Culver.City.Tell them you need help from Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson. They are only protection you’re going to get in this town.

    • The V.

      Mr. Stern, I applaud your well-crafted report card of the utterly dangerous failure that is Venice Bridge; however, I fear that your very fine composition merely shall fall upon covered eyes/ears Downtown. …But thank you for writing– I thoroughly enjoyed reading the above, and I hope I’m not the only one.

      Mr. Welldon, I do humbly offer my personal favorite opinion from the self-same fine folks at Retting CC: a twin pair of identical Glock-19s. So smooth, almost zero recoil… Baby. Best two boyfriends I had in 10 years in VB (Oakwood hood) before 10 years in MV. I enjoy how LAX Ammo has competitive prices to infuriate Wal*Mart, and I’ve been proud to support both Retting and LAX over the years. They both loved when I’d say, “f*** ‘feeling’ safe. I’m going to BE safe.” And then pay cash before skipping merrily home. Ha 😉

      Stay sane. Much love– xV

      • Jon Hall

        The V. Armed and law-abiding citizens are a greater deterrent to violent crime than 1,000 laws passed by Congress.

        • The V.

          Amen. Mr. Hall. When my WestSide apt. building got demolished last summer, and I left Cali for what now seems an impossible time to ever return, all things (cough) considered– our good pals at Manchester gifted me a “challenge coin” from their 2015 ‘do. “Si vis pacem, para bellum” is the logo. I cherish this trinket and carry it in my pocket every day, even though I’m 3k miles away now… for now.

          “Forever L.A.” Stay sane! xV

          • Texas Bob

            The V. I have a very strict gun control policy: if there’s a gun around, I want to be in control of it.
            I’m a Texan – my idea of gun control is hitting what you aim at and nothing else.

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