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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Judge Decides Against VSA and Clears Road for 154-Bed Homeless Shelter

An LA County Superior Court judge ruled against the Venice Stakeholders Association (VSA) members in a suit that VSA wanted CEQA invoked at the MTA site for the 154-bed homeless “bridge home”project.

At question was the validity of Assembly Bill 1197 that exempts homeless projects only in Los Angeles from complying with the California Environmental Quality Act.  The bill was passed after the MTA homeless project in Venice at Sunset and Pacific was started.

President of the VSA Mark Ryavec said “It is simply unfair for the state to  say that everyone in the state — except for the residents of LA — has certain rights under CEQA to question the environmental impacts of a project and ask that they be mitigated.  The City got the state to move the goal posts.”

Attorneys for VSA were still evaluating whether to appeal.  “It is an untested law singling out the City of Los Angeles,” said attorney Jeff Lewis.  “The legislature may have stepped out of the bounds of its authority.”

Fight Back Venice also lost its law suit recently regarding AB1197.

LA Times article.

Fight Back Venice Loses Case; City Wins Their Case; The People Lose Their Protection of the Law

If you can’t win in court, pass a law and make it retroactive. That appears to be the way to beat Fight Back Venice.

Fight Back Venice sued over two ordinances that exempted LA from complying with CEQA stating that compliance was a state requirement. The State passed AB1197 that exempts “qualifying homeless” projects from CEQA. The judge in essence said AB1197 was retroactive, which is not constitutional.

The judge did leave it open for Fight Back Venice to elaborate on one of its arguments about the legality of AB1197 ahead of a January hearing.

Christian Wrede, a member of Venice Neighborhood Council and Fight Back Fence, according to LA Times, said “all Californians who value the rule of law should be alarmed by what transpired in connection with this fundamentally meritorious case.

“City officials knew full well that they were going to lose this lawsuit, so they got their friends in Sacramento to rewrite the law after the fact.

“It doesn’t get much shadier-o- or much stinkier– than that.”

LA Times article.