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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

We Didn’t Start the Fire, Venice is Burning

 

Special thanks to Billy Joel, Performed by Mark Lennon of the band, Venice,
Produced by Nico Ruderman, Lyrics by Sean Obrien

Mike Bonin, Sheila Kuell, Gavin Newsome, what a fool
Autum Burke, Ted Lieu, Ben Allen have no clue
Garcetti, Eunuch in a trance, Scott Weiner in his pants
Third St., Boardwalk, Oakwood cant get a cop
Needles, feces, drug dealers, ocean breeze
Rubbish fires, Baseball bats chop shops, tons of rats
Encampments, Cherynoble, Carol Sobel thinks she’s noble
Rape, murder, suicide, no bail, it’s genocide
We didn’t’ start the Fire
Venice is burning, since Bonin’s been earning
We didn’t’ start the Fire, Venice is blighted, as we tried to fight it.
Blue tarps, Got Junk, Venice in a funk
Out of State, imports, no support, Supreme Court
Prostitution, vandalism, saturation, devastation
Sanitation, hesitation, Venice annihilation
Nero on the roof, Government has no proof
Pelosi, ice cream, I just want to scream
Harris, VP, abandoned us to live her dream
People squatting on the Beach, methamphetamine
We didn’t’ start the Fire
Penmar is burning, since Bonin’s been learning
We didn’t’ start the Fire, Venice is blighted, but we’ve tried to fight it.
RV’s, heaps of trash, they wonder why we clash
Rising crime, too much grime, brother can you spare a dime
Hair cuts, trim suits, bureaucratic lawsuits
Jones Act, Boise, failed leaders, crazy
Tax base shrinking, City Council winking
Zombies peeing, Residents fleeing
Puppet show, quid pro quo, no go, Skid Row
Rezone, methadone, Venice a containment zone
We didn’t’ start the Fire
Third Street is burning, since Bonin’s been churning
We didn’t’ start the Fire, Venice is blighted, but we’ve tried to fight it.
Dogtown upside down, violent shantytown
Dereliction, mental crisis, drug addiction, hepatitis
Heroin, weed, booze, storm drains full of ooze
Echo Park clean up, Venice remains a dump
Covid, Bonin’s dream, no Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream
Sirens daily, Where’s The Guy who plays the ukulele
We didn’t’ start the Fire
The Boardwalk is burning, since Bonin’s been earning
We didn’t’ start the Fire, Venice is blighted, As we’ve tried to fight it.
Homeless advocates, vagrants dropping pants
Sunset, Hampton, shelter box with a gun
Developers lobby, residents groggy
Venice a containment zone, I can’t leave my home
Tents around the school, beach and Rose cesspool
Venice strives, Lost Lives, but they all have knives
Too much alcohol, cant containment them all
Back again, bohemian, Monster on the Median
We didn’t’ start the Fire
Venice is burning, since Bonin’s been earning
We didn’t’ start the Fire, A new day will dawn,
Venice goes on and on and on and on and on and on an on and on and on and on

VNC Approves Projects, Homeless Motions

Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) last Tuesday recommended approval and disapproval of building projects for Venice as well as approved motions that will help homeless.

Approved projects were 45 Venice Blvd, 2318 Clement, 825 Palms, 741 Superba, 210 Linnie Canal, 80 Windward, 2318 Clement, and 742 – 746 Milwood. Rialto project at 407 – 409 was denied. Abbot Kinney at 1522 was removed from list of projects to be discussed.

A motion was provided by the homeless committee for a 6-month pilot program, in cooperations with LAPD and the Bureau of Sanitation, to provide 25 60-gallon bins on 3rd and Rose for the homeless to use for storage of personal items during the day. As of now, there is no such storage program other than the one at Venice Beach. Another motion provided by the homeless committee was to provide homeless persons with free pet services once a month.

A motion proposed by the neighborhood committee was to provide signs at parks and schools restricting oversize vehicles during certain hours. This would eliminate neighbors doing the petition on a block-by-block basis.

What to do with “Stuff”

stuff

This “stuff” is too much to fit into the 60-gallon allocated storage bin. What happens to stuff that does not fit. Will the laws be enforced?

Beach Storage Manager Likes MTA Lot, Answer for All; Does Not Like Mobile Storage Plan

Mike1

Mike Lindley, manager of the storage facility at the beach, doesn’t like the mobile storage plan envisioned by the Venice Neighborhood Council Homeless Committee. He wants to use the MTA lot on Sunset for storage and encampments.

Lindley was being interviewed to see what he thought of the Mobile Storage Plan since he is the main man for the  the non-mobile one at the beach.

Manages Facility at Beach

Lindley has managed the storage facility at the beach, near the paddle courts, since conception, a few years ago. Originally, the container was used just during shelter times, November to April, but in he last few years, it has been year round. Now it is open one hour per day, Tuesday thru Saturday. There are 25 bins and they are all used. Lindley keeps records and showed how one person used it frequently based on the number of pages. The cargo container is 8 feet wide and 25 feet long.

mike2

Does Not Like Mobile Storage Plan

He does not like the mobile storage plan because of number of busses needed, no ramp for removal. He says a minimum of two people would be needed for security. He said having two homeless people in buss at same time going thru a bin could create a security problem.

The Mobile Storage Plan conceived by the Homeless Committee would use a normal bus which would be 8 to 8.5 feet wide and 40 feet long probably. The committee talked of having two operators and two counselors on board. With four people on board the bus would probably accommodate 30 bins, two rows of 15 on each side. The containers would not have to be removed for use. But the plan is flexible and scaleable. And it goes to those who need it, which the stationary one does not. It would go twice a day, which the stationary one does not. It takes the service to the needy.

One homeless man on Rose was asked what he thought of a system for storage that came to him and he said “Humm… interesting.” When asked how he would feel if that which could not fit in 60-gallon bin would be destroyed in accordance with LAMC 56.11, he replied that “I collect too much junk anyway.”

Mike3

Lindley Wants MTA Lot for All

Lindley immediately switched the attention to the Metro or MTA lot on Sunset where there are more than three acres with some buildings. That is perfect. The MTA is scheduled for development but construction could take years.

“It will take years before they can build,” he said. “Use it now. Get all the homeless and let them camp there. Set up storage. Let counselors come, there are buildings for offices. Put porta potties on the property. It is fenced. Have security.”

Lindley sees it as a perfect, “immediate” solution for all the homeless and their needed storage, their needed counseling.

San Pedro to get Sudden Homeless Storage Facility? — All Sounds Familiar

Will San Pedro get a homeless storage facility as is supposedly proposed by Councilman Joe Buscaino? Similar footsteps are being uncovered in San Pedro as Venice is witnessing regarding Westminster Senior Center proposed for homeless storage. San Pedro’s Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council (CeSPNC) stakeholders did not know about their proposed storage facility.

It was revealed that the Los Angeles City Council’s Homeless Strategy Committee was acting to authorize $615,000 for the leasing and construction of storage facilities for the homeless in San Pedro, without any prior notice given to the Harbor Area neighborhood councils.

Sound familiar? Read the Citywatch story.

Westminster Senior Center Meet Thursday

By Darryl DuFay

Note: This is DuFay’s reporting of the Westminster Senior Center meet held 15 September at the Westminster Elementary School.

EVALUATION_edited-1

Mobile Storage for Homeless — Advantages — It’s a Win-Win

Venice Update totally supports this Mobile Storage Plan that the Homeless Committee of the Venice Neighborhood Council has devised. It is a win-win! It is innovative. It is cheaper and and more versatile.  It will benefit the homeless more. People should take note, communities should take note, particularly  Los Angeles. Take money saved and house the homeless.

This system takes the storage to the homeless, eliminating dragging “stuff” thru the streets (that is a lot of effort and time spent), it takes the supportive services to the ones needing them on a regular, reliable basis. It eliminates hard-to-find centralized structure locations that are cost effective and ready to operate and are also out of the residential areas. All communities could have this up and running in a short time. It is scalable for any community,  adds more benefits to the homeless, and saves money to house the homeless.   Go Venice Homeless Committee!

By Heidi Roberts

This is an ideal solution that our Council should consider implementing city-wide – for all the homeless storage needs across Los Angeles. The ability to scale the program up and down, depending on demand is fantastically flexible. If the City’s plan to house all the homeless works, fewer modified old MTA buses will be needed in the future. And if we need more to accommodate the homeless population, the City certainly has access to buses that can be converted quickly and easily.

One of the benefits of the program that hasn’t been talked about much is the street outreach aspect of the plan. Old-fashioned brick and mortar service-based outreach (a la Westminster Senior Center) has been proven time and time again to be much less effective than on-street “in situ” outreach. When case management experts are on the streets with the homeless, they create deeper, more consistent and more dependable relationships – they’re right there, sitting with the homeless and relating with their daily realities. Anyone who has ever had success lifting someone off the streets will tell you that you must be there – in that very moment – when the service-resistant homeless person hits rock bottom and is finally willing to accept help and start on a path toward rebuilding their lives. By contrast, that same person will never walk blocks away to seek help when they hit rock bottom and are finally receptive to help – for if they did, there would be a line around St. Joseph’s at all hours of every day. Frankly, the Mobile Storage plan is so much more than just storage – think of it like street outreach with a storage aspect to encourage participation.

Another less discussed aspect is cost. The cost to convert the Senior Center and run it is off the charts. The City is spending $542K to fix up the center for storage. And then budgeted an additional $384K to run the program. Say they manage to store belongings for 130 people (ranges have been reported from 110 to 130), that’s going to cost $7,123 per storage unit in the first year and $2,953K per storage unit in subsequent years. And none of this factors in the cost of losing the park for public access – that’s invaluable.

To be clear, that’s an immense amount of money to invest in a program that isn’t even designed to get people off the streets. I have researched and there is no evidence that storage is an effective strategy to shift people off the streets. In my discussion with the VP of Chrysalis (the organization slated to run the program), helping people transition off the streets is not an objective and they don’t even track it. Same goes for the 60-unit storage program that VCH runs on Ocean Front Walk.

One of the biggest issues I personally have with the City’s plan is that it’s a whole bunch of money being thrown at a whole bunch of services that won’t change a thing for either the homeless or the residents and visitors. $10-$12 million a year flows in to Venice-based service organizations as it is. Doubling down on more services that already exist and have not been helpful will not solve a thing. Converting the Senior Center to homeless storage is simply more of the same. The result? Safe to say: more of the same.

The Mobile Storage alternative is designed to work with more precision, more efficiency and more flexibility. Adopting this option would certainly work to bring the community together – it’s an alternative many can agree on. And as an added bonus, it would elevate Mike Bonin’s reputation in the eyes of this community and show that the City of Los Angeles is serious about employing innovative solutions to address a very serious problem they have avoided for years.

Homeless Committee Wants Correct Jones Count and Proposes Mobile Storage System

homeless
Members of the Homeless Committee left to right are Sunny Bak, Heidi Roberts, Will Hawkins, Matt Shaw, Lauri Burns, and Brian Ulf.

The newly formed Venice Neighborhood Council ad-hoc Homeless Committee, co-chaired by Will Hawkins and Matt Shaw, met Monday to a filled library room.  They discussed “the count” and a Mobile Storage System.

They proposed to ask the proper City authorities to provide an official count of the affordable housing built that is part of the Jones Settlement requirement. Attorney for homeless Carol Sobel has figures as does Mark Ryavac, president of Venice Stakeholders Association.  If the required number is met, they want the Jones Settlement removed and  no sleeping, loitering on the sidewalk enforced.

The committee also proposed implementing an innovative Mobile Storage System.  Heidi Roberts, committee member, said that the LAHSA (Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority) in their “Complete Strategy” says they will consider mobile options when traditional sites are not available. Westminster Senior Center was considered not an option at the time.  Councilman Mike Bonin has since announced a meet for 15 September specifically regarding the Westminster Senior Center as a storage facility and remodeling has commenced on the building.

Matt Shaw, said mobile storage would start with two busses each containing the proper operating staff, and supportive staff, and 50, 60-gallon containers.  The beauty of the system said Shaw and all other committee members agreed was the flexibility —

busses could be added or subtracted as necessary…

the service people would be on the bus to service the homeless as opposed to homeless seeking out the service staff in various parts of Venice …

the busses would go directly to homeless as opposed to homeless lugging “stuff” to a storage area.

The committee members planned on three areas for pickup.  The system would provide a set schedule for reliance. One stop, maybe two, could be OFW and another could be 3rd, which is growing to 4th along Sunset and Rose.

For example, a homeless person could store his “stuff” in the morning and pick it up in afternoon.  A homeless person would be free to get assistance, look for work, go to work, etc. during the day.

Proper motions will be prepared for the next Venice Neighborhood Council meet.

Notes for Jones Settlement Count motion

Notes for Jones Settlement Count motion

Outline for Mobile Storage System motion

Outline for Mobile Storage System motion

And yet ’tis the Christmas Season

It is the Christmas season, yet Venice is in the turmoil of the homeless in one situation or another and to one degree or another.

  • Nikoletta Skarlatos and a close group have reported that the alley parallel to Rose between 4th and 5th has been used as a toilet, that the Public Storage facility on Rose between 3rd and 4th has a gate open for homeless to enter after hours on 4th, that homeless are not abiding by the Lavan Injunction in which belongings clutter the sidewalks or the Jones Settlement where homeless (9 pm to 6 am) clutter the sidewalks beyond the 6 am and before the 9 pm.
  • Kip Pardue had a homeless invasion of a female entering his home in the morning on Venice Blvd near the beach. Second homeless invasion in Venice.
  • The 3rd Avenue encampment has expanded to Sunset, Rose, 2nd and 4th. It is apparently not because they have been moved off the beach but because the homeless number in area has increased in the Venice area. The weather is better than New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and you name-it this part of the year. The belongings the homeless are carrying with them have increased.
  • The storage facility at the paddle courts has been open.
  • The Winter Shelter program opened 1 December and busses shuttle homeless back and forth daily from Market Street in Venice to the Winter Shelter.
  • City Attorney Mike Feuer made the statement at his town hall meet Thursday that the 1250 required units to satisfy the Jones settlement might be met in 2015, which would mean that homeless would not be allowed to sleep on the sidewalks at any time.
  • Councilman Mike Bonin announced last week that Winter shelter was open and funds had been authorized for PATH (people assisting the homeless) to do outreach for the homeless.
  • Venice Update posed a question to an attorney after the Mike Feuer Town Hall meet. Question was regarding the transients who are here and continuously refreshing the scene. On 3rd there are about 8 to 2 for being from out of state and one of the 2 is not from LA County. So considering all of this, does this mean, after LA gets the 1250 housing units, Venice can ask/tell the transients to go back to where they came from and not have to put up with their drugs, alcohol, and childish pranks? Can this be enforced? Otherwise, what has been gained? There was no answer.
  • Captain Brian Johnson has made a public statement.
  • Laws, municipal codes, and comments are given here. Dialogues are presented here to spark the Venice community into thinking about this ongoing situation with the thought for solutions. The City and police are certainly open to help with improvements. Kip Pardue said that Venice has the best group of creative minds anywhere.

Six Months and Then …

a Bonin Speaks
Councilman Mike Bonin addressed a full auditorium Tuesday night at the Venice Neighborhood Council.

“I’m leaving the container there for six months and then we’ll discuss it,” said Councilman Mike Bonin at the monthly Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) meet Tuesday. He was referring to the container at the paddle tennis courts at Venice Beach.

Councilman Mike Bonin gave this time line for the storage container to stay at the paddle tennis courts after discussing the two types of storage he was trying to configure.

One is the storage container for homeless going to the shelter (December to March) and the other is the voluntary storage provision for homeless to comply with the Lavin Injunction. Bonin explained that the latter is a loop hole in the Lavin Injunction that, while providing a storage program, allows the City to move items and clean the streets.

He explained the “Warn, Bag, Tag and Store” program the City has initiated. First cleanup on the beach was 6 and 7 January.

The auditorium was packed with people who did not want the container at Westminster and people who didn’t want it at the paddle courts. Mike said that of all the places, the paddle courts were furthest from residences. All the places on the list, he had checked and this was the most appropriate.

A letter had circulated throughout Venice from the Administrative Committee of VNC that President Linda Lucks had written to Mike Bonin regarding the present storage facility, which was full, and the shelter most wanted but had not yet been selected.

We find this situation untenable and respectfully request that you attend the Board meeting on Tuesday, January 21 to explain why the program cannot be moved to Westminster Senior Center, as it is an unused City building and deemed a good location for a voluntary storage program, especially since until 2 years ago served for years as the site for winter shelter pick up and drop off location and also served as home to a Safe Place for Youth.

Alex Rosales, former president of the Venice Chamber of Commerce, later spoke that the Venice Historical Society wanted the Westminster building.

Having made his decision, Bonin went on to talk about the homeless.

“We all must move on beyond managing the problem and get to solving it,” he said. “We must build more affordable housing. We must have more law enforcement here. Homelessness is not just black and white.

“Venice is changing,” he said. “It is more creative, more talented, more concerned, and has a more creative spirit. Let’s put all this together and come up with ideas. I will work with you. It is much better together. I answer all my emails. My email address is mike.bonin@lacity.org.

“But it must be a civil discourse,” he ended.