web analytics

Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

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.

98-Unit Thatcher Yard Affordable/Psh Project to go Before Planning 21 November, Van Nuys

The 98-unit affordable/psh, senior project to be built on the Thatcher Yard by Thomas Safran Associates will go before the City Planning Commission Thursday (21 November) after 8:30 am at the Van Nuys City Council Chambers 14410 Sylvan Street, Van Nuys 91401.

At the last meeting the possibility of oil well/s on the property was discussed

LAWA Answers City and LA Times About Using Northside Runway Land for Homeless

In a memo addressed to all the LA City Council members, Legislative Representative Glenda Silva Pantoja for the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) said the land Jim Murez, Venice activist, spoke of for the LA Times article could not be used for homeless purposes as proposed because the land is prohibited by the FAA to be used for residential use. It is considered a noise buffer between LAX and the community.

The LA Times had an article about Jim Murez, Venice activist and member of the Venice Neighborhood Council, and his proposal to use the 340 acres next to the LAX north runway for homeless … a large bridge home so to speak. The Venice Update had an article of this nature in August 2016. The late Councilman Bill Rosendahl and Councilman Mike Bonin have both tried to use this land for the homeless.

Jim Murez in the Venice Update article did recognize that the LAX land in question was restricted but offered the land at Lincoln and Manchester Blvd, which is used as a park and the council office for the westside area.

The question arises: Are there other lands owned by the City that could provide a large area for temporarily housing the homeless and moving them into permanent housing. It would seem that this would be a City solution for sanitation and public livability and safety.   During the war, this country did not hesitate to move Japanese-Americans to areas away from the City.  Dr Kenneth Wright, who is again running for US congress, recommended using closed army bases, federal land. The resources used for individual encampments throughout the City seems to be financially not feasible and results are not forthcoming.   The endangerment to the public health and safety is an ever increasing concern.

The following is the memo addressed to all the City Council members and explains in detail why the City cannot use the land to provide for the homeless.

LA City Council and United Way Announce Unprecedented Homeless Housing Commitment

By David Graham-Caso, Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff to Councilman Mike Bonin

Six members of the Los Angeles City Council, including Council President Herb Wesson and Councilmembers Mike Bonin, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Jose Huizar, Paul Krekorian, and Nury Martinez joined the President and CEO of United Way Greater Los Angeles Elise Buik in downtown Los Angeles today to announce a citywide initiative to create a minimum of 3,330 supportive housing units across all fifteen council districts.  A resolution was introduced at Wednesday’s city council meeting calling on each councilmember to pledge a minimum of 222 Proposition HHH-funded supportive housing units in their district for those experiencing homelessness. United Way will work as a partner to educate, engage, and organize communities across the city in support of this goal, which aims to have all units approved by July 1, 2020.

In November 2016, seventy-seven percent of Angelenos supported Proposition HHH: the Los Angeles Homelessness Reduction and Prevention Housing Bond committing $1.2 billion in bonds towards helping homeless individuals through the construction of supportive housing and homeless service facilities. Wesson, Buik, Bonin, Harris-Dawson, Huizar, Krekorian, and Martinez made the 222 Pledge announcement today at New Genesis Apartments in downtown L.A., where the Proposition HHH campaign was first launched.

“We are not going to solve or even make a significant dent in homelessness unless we are all part of the solution,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin. “All of us — every elected official, every part of the city, every demographic. It’s either all-hands-on-deck, or this ship is going to sink under the weight of this crisis.”

In a statement, Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke of his eagerness to work with the City Council to see this commitment through.

“I applaud the City Council for taking on this challenge,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The homelessness and affordability crises touch every community in Los Angeles, and I look forward to working closely with my Council colleagues to bridge our housing gap.”

Elise Buik, President & CEO of the United Way of Greater L.A. explained United Way’s role in the 222-per-district goal.

“Homelessness touches every corner of our city, and the solutions must do the same,” said Buik. “United Way is committed to partnering with elected and community leaders across the region to educate, organize, and advocate for the creation of new supportive housing in every city council district.”

Councilmembers Wesson, Harris-Dawson, Huizar, Krekorian, and Martinez all stressed collective action.

“With each councilmember’s pledge, Los Angeles is sending a message: actions speak louder than words in the fight against homelessness,” said Council President Herb Wesson. “Homelessness is not an issue we will solve overnight, but it is one we will continue working on around-the-clock.”

“So many constituents, across the City, want to help, but worry that they are alone,” said Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson. “Today, we are creating a concrete path forward to address homelessness together. Proposition HHH lets us pay for solutions together, the 222 initiative will let us build the solution together.”

“I strongly support this effort to provide homeless housing more equally throughout the City,” said Councilmember Jose Huizar, a co-author of Proposition HHH and a proponent of projects like the New Genesis Skid Row Housing Trust apartments. “While it is true that some council districts like the one I represent have supported a disproportionate amount of similar housing, as the City moves forward with HHH-funded projects, we need our colleagues on the City Council to commit to housing in all communities. One of the great challenges of homelessness that we all face is that it is no longer relegated to a few areas of the city. It is everywhere. Homeless housing with supportive services needs to be equal to that challenge.”

“We’ve all got to do more to tackle homelessness, including building additional permanent supportive housing in every area of the city,” said Councilmember Paul Krekorian. “This plan shows a real commitment to increasing the level of housing and services in our districts, so that we can get thousands of people off the streets and prevent them from falling back into homelessness.”

“Homelessness affects our entire city,” Councilwoman Nury Martinez said. “It’s why, as Councilmembers, we need to work together solve it. No single district or community can or should do it alone. A joint approach and shared responsibility is at the heart of today’s resolution.”

 

Where have homeless gone? — Sunset, Alleys, Venice-Ocean

where_edited-1

west
East and West sides of 3rd Avenue show avenue almost devoid of “stuff” and people Thursday, 28 September. There are indications that the area is slowly starting to re-populate.

History

People remove “stuff” from 3rd to put on Rose for the scheduled cleanup.  Cleanup use to be weekly by Department of Sanitation. Sanitation would clean up trash and steam clean and sanitize portions of the sidewalks. Now cleanup is monthly.  Also new is Sanitation coming by on Thursdays and removing all bulk items in coordination with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and in accordance with LAMC 56.11.

Residents of 3rd stored their stuff on Rose Ave Friday, 8 September so that 3rd could be cleaned.  Department of Sanitation removed items for storage in accordance with LAMC 56.11.  Street was cleaned.

Where are the homeless now?
One resident who stays on 3rd in his vehicle said “they were all taken to jail.”  When asked what really happened,  he calmed down and said “half went to jail and rest scattered, probably on Hampton.”  When checking Hampton, Update found few remnants of homeless belongings on Hampton either direction of Rose. Meanwhile, Public Storage steam cleaned their portion on the east side of 3rd.

Rick Swinger and his effort to clean the alleys and stop dumping on 3rd has been a major part of this cleanup and movement.  The Hepatitis A outbreak declaration by the County Health Department also encouraged the homeless, who looked for comraderie,  to find other places.

On Sunset
sunset
Some were found on north side of Sunset between 3rd and 4th.  There were belongings indicating they were moving to south side too.

In the alleys
frey

Update received two emails asking for information regarding homeless in their alleys.  Clean the alleys of debris! This alley presents a covered, sheltered area for homeless.  One alley had campout cooking facilities.   Get neighbors together and clean up those alleys.  Call LA311.  Alleys should be cleared sufficiently for a firetruck access.

Encampment at Mildred, Ocean, Venice Blvd
Well, this one, originally designed with mounds and balls by Robin Murez to make a City corner area beautiful and desirable, has turned into an encampment that just keeps growing with things, and perhaps, people.

en1

max2

max3

max4

Venice Blvd No Longer Route 187

California_187.svg

Venice Blvd—from Lincoln Blvd to 10 Freeway—is no longer State Route 187, and as of relinquishment agreement dated 1 September 2016, became the responsibility of the City of Los Angeles. For this the State gave the City 14.5 million.

This relinquishment occurred at the request of Councilman Mike Bonin, chair of the LA City Council Transportation Committee, to “facilitate the implementation of the City’s Great Streets initiative on Venice Blvd.”

It was previously reported that only the “Great Streets” portion had been relinquished.

LA Homeless Numbers Increase; Homeless Youth Numbers Increase; What About the Money to Help

Los Angeles Homeless Services Agency released the homeless count for Los Angeles County and Los Angeles City last week. The individual community tally will come in June. The demographic breakdown will be available in July. Several stories have come out of this count release by the LA Times.

The overall breakdown for City and County numbers. See LA Times article.

Increase in youth homelessness. See LA Times article.

The story about the money allocated for the homeless. See LA Times article.

Snapchat Discussed, VNC BBQ Cancelled, Oxford Triangle Resolution Rescinded … VNC Meet

OT

Residents of Oxford Triangle wait their turn to speak regarding the Oxford Triangle resolution they wanted rescinded.

By Angela Mcgregor,

Snapchat’s impact on the Venice community was discussed at Tuesday’s VNC Meeting. Community Officer Colleen Saro discussed her meeting with Snap, Inc. representatives, in which she expressed many of the community’s concerns — mainly about the Snap Security Squad and their apparent hostility toward tourists and transients alike. According to Snap, the security detail was hired to protect their employees, who have had incidents of harassment with the homeless as they make their way from one Snap location to another. Company reps pointed up Snap’s numerous, charitable contributions to the community, including coding classes at St. Joseph’s, showers at Safe Place for Youth, and a variety of projects at Venice’s elementary schools. Ms. Saro invited representatives from Snap to attend an upcoming VNC meeting, in order to address community concerns, but they refused (for now).

Various residents followed up her presentation with their own commentary about Snap, including the news that the Venice Freak Show on Ocean Front Walk will be closing in May due to Snap’s taking over their lease.

Both LUPC Consent Calendar items — a demolition/new build at 2334 Cloy and a demolition/new 2 unit condo build at 656 California, were approved.

VNC Board President Ira Koslow announced that there will be no Venice Community Barbecue in 2017. After 10 years of organizing the event, the organizers are simply “worn out”, he stated. It should be noted that a component of the Venice community called for a boycott of the BBQ last year after what they stated were “micro aggressive comments” made by the organizers at a VNC meeting (see: http://savevenice.me/boycott-venice-nc-bbq. Despite that, the 2016 event was a success and the BBQ will be missed.

Koslow also announced that the selection of a new Board member to fill a seat on the Board left vacant by the resignation of Erin Darling would be postponed until the April meeting, due to an incorrect date being posted on the nomination form.

Finally, a motion passed last month regarding development at the Thatcher Maintenance Yard in the Oxford Triangle was rescinded. At the February 21st meeting, a motion was presented calling for the VNC Board to support only R-1 (single family) housing there; this motion was amended to replace “R-1” with “multi-family”, thereby reversing the original intent of the motion. Many of the dozen or so Triangle residents speaking in favor of motion to rescind pointed out that amending a motion in order to reverse its original intent appeared to be a violation of Robert’s Rules of Order.   The motion to rescind passed the board 13-0-1.

The May 2017 VNC Board meeting will be held on the third Wednesday in May, rather than the third Tuesday, due to a conflict with a local election.

 

Thatcher Yard — Residents Want to Know What is Happening

rig

(Photo courtesy of Linda Vaughan.) Thatcher Maintenance Yard. Soil tests for an Environmental Impact Report?

Neighbors really want to know what is going on with the Thatcher Maintenance Yard.

The Yard, 93,000 sq feet, was designated as one of the first City salvage projects. It was to be rezoned to RD1.5 and designated for affordable housing. City Administrator put out RFQ/P to developers. Thomas Safran Associates were selected for the Yard with their dual proposal of 86 to 152 units with a mix of 60 percent market rate, 30 percent affordable, and 10 percent permanent supportive housing.

That was November. Plans are supposedly to be presented to City in March. It is March. No one has approached the Oxford Triangle members regarding this project. Blake Coddington of Safran group was supposedly talking with individual residents regarding the project at one of the Venice public meetings.

Meanwhile, proposition HHH was passed which would provide funds for building 100 percent affordable projects on the Yard — no market rate. A neighborhood request by a small group of residents went thru the LUPC and the VNC requesting that the Yard stay City maintenance or be rezoned R-1. VNC almost unanimously voted that down and asked for “multi-housing” use.

March 7 is an election for City council seat and a Measure S. Measure S would stop spot rezoning projects… except for affordable housing projects unless project requires general plan changes. Both these projects require both spot rezoning and general plan changes. So a “YES” for Measure S supposedly would stop both projects for at least two years. A vote “No” would mean business as usual, spot rezoning and changing the plans.

Incumbent Mike Bonin is for developmening the two lots. He wants Measure S to be defeated so he can build affordable housing on both. Mark Ryavec is not for developing either property for homeless. He is for Measure S. In the case of the Yard, he wants property zoned R-1 and sold to a developer. Robin Rudisill supports Measure S. She says keeping the Yard for maintenance should be reconsidered; otherwise, the community has spoken for R-1. The Venice Median she says she would honor the Land Use Plan certified by the California Coastal Zone, which means it would not be developed. So incumbent is only candidate for developing both lots and Measure S.

To add confusion to the pot, Councilman Mike Bonin, who is for developing the properties, answered a Venice Update question regarding the sale of the properties and using the monies for homeless in other areas as follows:

It is also important to note – despite repeated assertions to the contrary – that the City has not decided what or even whether to build on these properties. The City has only allowed affordable housing developers the opportunity to propose at these sites. At this point, there are no actual proposals. The housing developers who were assigned to each of the Venice sites are conducting community and neighborhood outreach before they propose something. Then, those proposals must be reviewed by the Land Use and Planning Committee of the Venice Neighborhood Council, the full Venice Neighborhood Council, and then the City planning approval process and likely the California Coastal Commission.

Meanwhile, a local resident and architect, wrote to Councilman Mike Bonin and all the council members:

You have bypassed not only the VNC and their LUPC, but also your constituents. None of the documents regarding site selection, contractor selection or RFQ submissions have been made available to the public. The development is being fast-tracked with virtually no public review, and without open and transparent procedures that the City would demand of any developer.

Tent with occupant in front of  Yard.

Tent with occupant in front of Yard.

Meanwhile, a tenter was happy living in front of the Yard for about a week until the rig disturbed his solitude or someone moved him on. Residents asked if the tenter was first in line for a place.

Residents really want to know what is happening? Residents know the rules, yet things are happening without their knowledge, input, or due process.

CD11 Candidates Answer Questions Asked by Venetians for Venice Update Q&A

This is the third set of questions the Venice Update submitted to the incumbent and the two candidates for the CD11 Council Seat.

Hopefully, these questions with the answers will help you, the voting reader,  be better informed on issues concerning Venetians. These questions were composed by a small group of Venetians. The questions have been answered and are printed below.

There will be just one more set of questions before the election.

Mike Bonin

1.Venetians west of Lincoln Blvd want preferential parking.  They feel preferential parking would solve many of the parking and camping issues in Venice.  It has been stated that the council office is the one dragging its feet to meet the California Coastal Commission minimum requirements to get preferential parking.  If elected, what steps would you take to get preferential parking in Venice west of Lincoln.  Why do you feel this has this not been done?  Would you make this a priority?

Repeated attempts by the City of Los Angeles and neighbors in Venice to get permit parking over the course of several decades have been stymied by the California Coastal Commission. The Commission has been clear about what it will take for Venice to be able to permit parking for its residents. In short, we need to build more parking, create more options for people to get to the beach without a car, and approve a Local Coastal Plan. I am the first elected official in more than a generation to do that:

Build More Public Parking – I am very happy that during my first term, the City has built additional public parking in Venice for first time in decades. In 2015, we added 66 new spaces at the public lot at 1300 Electric Avenue. In 2016, we added 50 new spaces at 1600 Tabor Court. We also opened up30 new night time parking spots on Venice Boulevard near the beach, and I initiated the legally mandated study needed to allow us to raise parking fees on developers so we have more money to build additional parking in Venice.

Increase Transit Options to and from Venice – The Coastal Commission has repeatedly urged the City to increase transit options for the beach. In the past four years, we have added bike lanes, improved safety features for cyclists, added the Santa Monica-based bike share program, and have begun to add the Metro-operated bike share program in Venice.

Approve a Local Coastal Plan – The City was supposed to adopt an LCP in the 1970s, and after decades of delay, I insisted we start the LCP process, which will give us local control and the ability to regulate our own parking. I secured funding from several pots of money, including state grants, and won approval for the Department of City Planning to hire staff. The initial scoping sessions have already begun.

It is easy for other candidates to say we should insist on permit parking. It is another thing entirely to understand what it takes for the City to win that authority, and to have the ability to deliver the funding and resources and projects required to get that authority.

2.  It appears self-evident that the sale of the Thatcher Yard and the Venice Median Parking lot would house many more homeless if the properties were sold and monies used to build elsewhere.  How would you, or do you, justify building on these lots knowing this or would you sell and build elsewhere.

Taken to its logical conclusion, that statement and question suggest that the City of Los Angeles should only build low-income or homeless housing in the areas where property is the cheapest, which effectively means shifting the burden of solving a regional crisis primarily in low-income communities (which, in Los Angeles, happen to be mostly African-American and Latino.) That is not a tenable solution. Every part of Los Angeles needs to be part of a solution to a crisis that impacts every part of Los Angeles.

In 2016, the City approved a Comprehensive Homelessness Strategy, which calls for the City to consider using its surplus, vacant, and under-used properties in all parts of the City for housing. Among the first dozen properties being considered are Thatcher Yard and the Dell-Pacific lot. These are not the only lots being considered in the first round, and the City will begin the process of looking at a second batch in the next few months. In total, the City will be examining hundreds of properties in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles as part of this process.

It is also important to note – despite repeated assertions to the contrary – that the City has not decided what or even whether to build on these properties. The City has only allowed affordable housing developers the opportunity to propose at these sites. At this point, there are no actual proposals. The housing developers who were assigned to each of the Venice sites are conducting community and neighborhood outreach before they propose something. Then, those proposal must be reviewed by the Land Use and Planning Committee of the Venice Neighborhood Council, the full Venice Neighborhood Council, and then the City planning approval process and likely the California Coastal Commission.

There will only be proposals for each site after the developers work with communities to create proposals. And those proposals will not be acted on without extensive further community input.

3. The mayor and our city council are advocating enthusiastically to bring the 2024 Olympics to Los Angeles.  According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “A growing number of economists argue that both the short- and long-term benefits of hosting the games are at best exaggerated and at worst nonexistent, leaving many host countries with large debts and maintenance liabilities.” Given that the city already has the worst traffic in the country and a looming budget,  what is your basis for supporting the  L.A. 2024 Olympics?

Unlike almost any other city in the world, Los Angeles is incredibly well-positioned to host the Olympic Games, and to make a profit doing so.

Los Angeles, having hosted the Games twice before, has a track record of managing the games AND turning a profit. The surplus from the 1984 Olympics is still building and supporting parks and local school sports in LA, and that the 2024 Games is projected to have an even bigger surplus.

Why it that? The biggest cost to other host cities is building infrastructure to accommodate the Games. The Los Angeles region already has nearly all of the necessary venues and infrastructure in place, and faces no significant upfront costs in order to be a host city. The organizing committee’s $4.5-billion budget anticipates a profit of about $150 million after recording such income as the $1.7-billion IOC contribution, $1.5 billion from sponsorships, $1.12 billion from tickets and $850 million in broadcast rights.

The City negotiated significant concessions and major partners have stepped in to help protect the City treasury. Concerned about the costs of building an Olympic Village, we balked – and now the athletes and media will be housed in dormitories at UCLA and USC. The federal government has agreed to cover security costs, and the state has guaranteed $250 million to cover any potential cost over-runs. If we are selected to host the 2024 Games, it is most likely that we will not only benefit from tremendous investment and job creation throughout the region, but we will also very likely have a surplus after the Games that can help make Los Angeles a better place to live for generations to come. In the unlikely event that the Games run over budget, there are multiple levels of protection to make sure that taxpayers in Los Angeles are protected from footing the bill.

4.  What is the one question you feel has not been asked that you would like to answer?  Possibly, there is more than one question.

Supplemental Question 1:

 In the past four years, what have you done for Venice?

I am proud of the things we have gotten done for Venice in the last few years, and I am eager to have an opportunity to continue working to make Venice a great place to live, work and enjoy. Some of the things I have accomplished include:

•    Fighting for funding to hire a Superintendent at Venice Beach – adding coordination and oversight to the popular tourist destination, business district and neighborhood

•    Funding and personally helped upgrade the foot bridges over the Venice Canals to refurbish the bridges and handrails

•    Adding new parking lots along Irving Tabor Court and Electric Avenue to provide parking for local businesses

•    Resurfacing Venice handball courts

•    Adding new bike racks, signs and bollards to stop people from accidentally driving on Ocean Front Walk

•    Fighting to keep the Latino Resource Organization in the Vera Davis Center and got funding allocated in the budget to preserve programs at the Vera Davis Center

•    Working with neighbors and the LAPD to help find the people responsible for defacing the Vietnam Veterans MIA/POW memorial wall, and to restore the cherished mural

•    Working with local business owners to start the Venice Business Improvement District, which will help keep the area safe and clean

•    Getting a series of high-tech security cameras added to Venice Beach area, giving the LAPD an important tool to fight crime at Venice Beach

•    Working with small businesses owners to formally establish the Washington Square Business Improvement Group

•    Adding a bike lane to Rose Avenue

•    Working with the City of Santa Monica to place Breeze Bike Share stations in Venice, so locals and tourists could use the convenient bike share service

•    Partnering with the Venice Chamber of Commerce to host community celebrations and “Venice Sign Lightings” for LGBT Pride, the Day of the Doors, the Los Angeles Rams and the Holidays

•    Getting funding allocated to improve and beautify Venice Centennial Park

•    Supporting Venice Art Walk with a grant to keep the beloved community celebration of art alive

•    Helping accelerate a landscaping project at the DWP facility at Lincoln and Broadway to get drought-tolerant landscaping installed

•    Installing a flashing-beacon crosswalk across Abbot Kinney Boulevard to keep kids crossing the street on the way to Westminster Elementary School safe

•    Funding weekly Bureau of Sanitation cleanups on Ocean Front Walk, Third Avenue and Westminster Avenue

•    Working with the Venice Farmers Market to get EBT Functionality so the Farmers Market could serve people at different income levels

•    Focusing the Clean Streets program on the Couer d’Alene area to clean up general debris and alley weeds

•    Upgrading Muscle Beach with new equipment and resurfacing

•    Creating 30 new night time parking spots on Venice Boulevard near the beach

•    Starting the process establishing an “Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District” for Venice, allowing tax money created in Venice to be dedicated toward improvements in Venice

•    Working with Mayor Garcetti to break ground on a water reclamation project at Penmar Park that will save water and prevent pollution from reaching Santa Monica Bay

•    Funding the upgrade of street lights on Ocean Front Walk to brighter and more energy-efficient LED lights

•    Hosting a series of free movie nights at Oakwood Recreation Center, offering fun, family-friendly opportunities for neighbors to gather

•    Co-sponsoring the Venice Community Health Fair with Assemblywoman Autumn Burke

•    Protecting affordable housing by authoring legislation that forces the city to draft and adopt a permanent Mello Act ordinance

•    Working with the Planning Department to clarify that the Venice Specific Plan development standards supercede the small lot subdivision ordinance, protecting community character in Venice

•    Starting a program to add artwork to utility boxes throughout Venice, adding color and art to the neighborhood

•    Increasing the number of police officers patrolling the beach area on bike and horseback

•    Restoring the Street Services clean-up of walk streets

•    Hiring Chrysalis to augment cleaning of Venice Beach restroom facilities

•    Launching the process to adopt a “Venice Local Coastal Plan” to protect the area from overdevelopment and make the permitting process simpler

•    Stopping the 522 Venice project and won a landmark case demonstrating the primacy of the Coastal Act in local decisions

•    Standing with the community to kill the unpopular 1414 Main Street project

•    Working with state legislators to amend SB1818, the state’s “density bonus law,” to close a loophole so that developers could not get density bonuses while reducing affordable housing

•    Launching Operation Street Lift along Washington Boulevard, coordinating street repaving with other important neighborhood repairs to minimize impact on local businesses

•    Founding and facilitated Venice Forward – a multi-agency collaborative focused on ending homelessness in Venice

•    Bringing Lava Mae to Venice, offering the homeless a place to shower and use the restroom

•    Working with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl to found a County-City-Community (C3) partnership for Venice, which brings outreach workers and health professionals to the area to help homeless people connect to housing and resources

•    Adding more LAPD HOPE teams to Pacific Division to offer additional resources to conduct outreach to the homeless

•    Helping fund the homeless outreach work of LAPD Chaplains Steve and Regina Weller

•    Working with People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) to conduct outreach services in Venice

Supplemental Question 2:

What have you done to make government smarter, more efficient, and more constituent friendly?

One of my mantras is that “Government should be on your side, not on your back.” That is why my first action as an elected official was to repeal the city policy that allowed you to get a ticket if you were parked at a broken meter. And it is why I am leading a major parking reform initiative that will reduce parking fines, allow you to park in a street sweeping zone after the sweeper has gone by, keep meter revenue in the local area for neighborhood improvements, and “code the curb” to allow our meters to communicate with smart phone apps so you know when and where spaces are available, and so you can pay using your smartphone.

Additionally, I have pushed the City to expand the use technology and created a pilot program to provide tablet technology to firefighters, allowing to increase efficiency and more easily and quickly save lives and property. (When I took office, some firefighters were still using Thomas Guides.)

I have also routinely tried to open government up for easier access to the people we represent. I hold “Pop Up Office Hours” at farmers’ markets, supermarkets, youth sporting events, church festivals, and more to give any person with an issue an opportunity to meet with me face-to-face. This augments my frequent practice of meeting with neighbors in a living room or backyard to discuss problems and solutions. And even as an elected official, I have continued to go door-to-door to talk with the people I represent. (The first neighborhood I walked, with Mayor Eric Garcetti, was in Venice.)

Supplemental Question 3:

Venice is a coastal community, and the 11th District includes the beach, the Santa Monica Mountains, and the Ballona wetlands. What have you done to protect the environment?

I have made protecting the environment and encouraging sustainability a priority in my first term, authoring legislation and working with Mayor Eric Garcetti to advance a progressive environmental platform. It is our sacred obligation to protect this planet and its environment for future generations. That is why I have done the following:

Fighting for Clean Energy
Working with the Sierra Club, I have co-authored legislation that created a research collaborative with the sole mission of charting a smart and achievable path to 100% clean energy in Los Angeles. Through this effort, Los Angeles could become the largest city in the nation to achieve 100% clean energy and an international beacon for the clean energy revolution that will prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

Stopping Fracking and Taking on the Oil and Gas Industry
I co-authored the Los Angeles Fracking Moratorium and took on the oil and gas industry on a number of fronts, including working to stop “oil bomb trains” from running through Los Angeles.

Protecting Water Quality and Encouraging Conservation
I wrote common-sense legislation to: stop watering city lawns that are scheduled for replacement with drought-tolerant landscaping; use tiered pricing for water rates to increase conservation; and cutting through red-tape to make it cheaper and easier to install home water recycling systems. My work on water issues has also included efforts to protect the quality of our water, fighting to protect the Santa Monica Bay from polluted stormwater runoff by breaking ground on two water reclamation and treatment projects (both funded by Prop O) that capture and clean stormwater before it reaches the Bay. One of them is at Penmar Park in Venice.

Protecting Neighborhood Trees
I won precedent-setting rulings against developers who illegally chopped-down protected trees in a Westside neighborhood. I have worked to get more trees trimmed on the Westside to ensure a healthy urban forest, and I introduced legislation to hold contractors accountable for trimming according to the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A300 standards. I also fought to have the protection of neighborhood trees be a major part of the city’s recently approved sidewalk repair plan.

Transportation Leadership
Some of my most significant environmental leadership has been my work on the Metro Board of Directors, where I am helping to take cars off the road by expanding public transportation. I led the successful charge to finally connect LAX with our rail system, which will not only take a ton of cars off the Westside streets I represent, but will keep tons of carbon pollution out of the air. The Metro/LAX connection is part of a comprehensive approach to revolutionizing how people get to and from the region’s largest airport, and I am working to create other convenient and sustainable facilities, such as a consolidated rental car center, an intermodal transportation facility, and an automated people mover that will make it quick and simple to get to the airport without ever needing to get into a single-passenger vehicle. I also served as the Chair of the Expo Line Construction Authority, working with neighborhood and transportation activists to ensure the Westside finally got a rail line that would help people get around LA without their cars.

Creating Open Space
I worked to expand open space on the Westside, championing opportunities to give my constituents more ways to enjoy the outdoors. We are working to open Via Dolce Park on the east bank of the Grand Canal, and we are making progress toward the completion of Potrero Canyon park – a 45.7 acre passive open space park with riparian habitat in the Pacific Palisades. Additionally, I won approval for a plan for the vacant land north of LAX that will include nearly 50 acres of open space for the community to enjoy.

Making it Safer and Easier to Walk and Bike in LA
Nearly half of all trips taken in LA are less than three miles, and eighty-seven percent of those trips are taken by car. We can improve our neighborhoods and protect the environment by making it easier and safer to walk and bike in LA, taking cars off the road and potential pollution out of the air. I won approval of the Mobility Plan 2035 – a planning document that will create a bike network throughout Los Angeles and will vastly improve how we plan and design our city to better protect bicyclists and pedestrians who opt not to rely on cars for transportation. I am also a champion of the city’s Vision Zero commitment, which seeks to end traffic fatalities in LA by 2025 by reducing vehicle speeds on local streets and incorporating better street design to protect pedestrians from cars.

Taking on Monsanto
I authored legislation to stop the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks from using Monsanto’s “Roundup” pesticides and to instead explore safer and more sustainable options.

Supplemental Question 4:

What achievements are you most proud of?

  1. Passing a $15 citywide minimum wage: This landmark legislation set a precedent that the state and other communities followed. It will positively change the lives of millions.
  2. Shaping and winning voter approval of Measure M, which will invest billions in mass transit, traffic relief and road repair.
  3. Shaping and winning voter approval of Proposition HHH, which allow us to house 10,000 homeless people.

 

Robin Rudisill

 

1.Venetians west of Lincoln Blvd want preferential parking.  They feel preferential parking would solve many of the parking and camping issues in Venice.  It has been stated that the council office is the one dragging its feet to meet the California Coastal Commission minimum requirements to get preferential parking.  If elected, what steps would you take to get preferential parking in Venice west of Lincoln.  Why do you feel this has this not been done?  Would you make this a priority?

Preferential parking in the Coastal Zone is both a dream and a nightmare….and it’s not just a question of who’s for it or against it. The Venice Coastal Zone Certified Land Use Plan requires that any public parking place that is removed from general public parking, must be replaced with a new public space. So if we did permit parking for the whole coastal zone, we’d have to provide that many more spaces, and that’s simply not going to happen. However, it’s possible we could do limited areas of permit parking. Then the question would be, who gets the benefit of the parking and who doesn’t! If we need parking for the elderly and handicapped, we can probably do those as designated spaces, but to do permit parking, we would have to come up with a system to decide who has the greatest need, or who is willing to pay to provide new public parking spaces, or some other system to decide how they would be allotted. This is why, despite the ongoing outcry for permit parking, no one has actually taken it on. I know this isn’t the answer people want to hear, but if it makes anyone feel better, we should remember that we have the Coastal Act to thank for keeping Venice from turning into a solid beachfront of high-rises, like Miami Beach. And part of the price we pay for that protection is that we have to provide and promote coastal access to visitors, including those from other communities of CD-11 and our own city.

2.  It appears self-evident that the sale of the Thatcher Yard and the Venice Median Parking lot would house many more homeless if the properties were sold and monies used to build elsewhere.  How would you, or do you,  justify building on these lots knowing this or would you sell and build elsewhere.

With regard to Thatcher Yard, the answer is fairly straight forward. I would first meet with the City officials responsible for the maintenance yard, to better understand why they believe it is no longer needed. It seems that the Westside needs such a yard and I cannot think of any reason why the Westside’s requirements for such a yard have reduced so dramatically as to not need the entire Thatcher Yard any more. If this proposed change is being done for the wrong reasons, it would be a costly mistake to convert it from Public Facility and then soon find out it is needed after all and then have to acquire additional City property for it on the Westside, at a higher cost. That said, this possible change has already been vetted by the Community and the decision was that such a site would become R1 if the City decides to abandon operations at the site. I would ask the community members to tell me if they still agree with that policy recommendation. Also, this property is right in the middle of one of only a couple of R-1, single-family neighborhoods in the Venice Coastal Zone. As our certified Land Use Plan states, the character, scale and stability of our single-family residential neighborhoods must be protected. Under Measure S, no General Plan Zone change may be done.

With regard to the Venice Median Parking lot, it’s complicated. This lot is in the Coastal Zone and our General Plan Venice Community Plan, which includes the Certified Land Use Plan, designates the Venice Median parking lot as Open Space, meant for beach parking. It’s very doubtful that the Coastal Commission will approve a zoning change if the change is not going to increase coastal access. That means it’s dubious as to whether they’d approve the supportive housing project, but it’s even more dubious that they would approve the sale of the lot for some other use, unless it expands coastal access. And there’s another wild card; if Measure S passes, nothing can be built there for at least two years, except for more parking.

If I lived in that neighborhood, I’d also be very wary of encouraging the City to sell that lot in order to build elsewhere. Is it the neighbors suggesting this option, or is it real estate developers? To sell it, the City would have to change the zoning, and by the very logic of your question, the City would need to zone it to get the highest possible price. That would mean the biggest, tallest buildings possible, with the largest number of apartments or condos. Remember, this is the City that just gave Rick Caruso a zoning change to build 140 feet above the existing 45 ft height limit, and Mike Bonin just gave his blessing to the Martin Cadillac project, which is going to add over 7,000 vehicle trips per day to the most congested spot on the Westside, even though he knows it’s going to gridlock sixteen surrounding intersections. All this is beyond the beyond of unacceptable and makes a complete mockery of our planning laws and codes.

I would honor the provisions of our Land Use Plan, which was certified by the Coastal Commission to serve the mandate of the California Coastal Act. If we start playing with the rules governing the Venice Median Parking lot, we chip away at the protections that currently benefit all residents of the Coastal Zone, as well as at the public beach access to which we all have a right and from which all Californians benefit. As I have been saying, I will look for other options that don’t abuse our planning laws, don’t violate our coastal laws, and don’t cause severe strife in our neighborhoods. I will look for existing buildings that can be repurposed for supportive housing and for ways to quickly build small housing units using new models, and I will focus on using city land that won’t be subject to a Measure S moratorium. The homeless crisis is too important to invite major delays in providing the related housing.

3. The mayor and our city council are advocating enthusiastically to bring the 2024 Olympics to Los Angeles.  According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “A growing number of economists argue that both the short- and long-term benefits of hosting the games are at best exaggerated and at worst nonexistent, leaving many host countries with large debts and maintenance liabilities.” Given that the city already has the worst traffic in the country and a looming budget,  what is your basis for supporting the  L.A. 2024 Olympics?

We should be cautious, but it could be beneficial. In ’84, the Olympics brought a huge burst of vitality and creativity to the City. It gave the arts a major boost, as well as commerce. So I wouldn’t turn the Olympics down, but I’d make darn sure we host them on our terms, with all the caution and skepticism that such a large endeavor requires. The Games have a long history of picking host cities’ pockets. However, in 1984, Los Angeles was the first city to host the Games without taking a gouge out of the City budget or putting the City in serious long-term debt. So it’s possible, or at least it was with the political leadership we had 30 years ago, with Peter Ueberroth running the effort.

We have the advantage of already having almost all the needed infrastructure in place – the venues, the dorm housing, the media – that few other cities can match. The question is whether our City decision makers will be sufficiently responsible to keep expenses in line. Will they be watchdogs, or simply cheerleaders? From what I’ve seen, they’ve been all too eager hand out taxpayers’ money for pet projects, from hotels to tech companies.

As the Olympics get closer, the pressure will build to finish projects in time for the games, and that’s when the purse strings get loosened. My financial experience, as CFO and Controller for Bank of America FSB and other banks, gives me the skills to protect the taxpayers from the dangers that come with a huge event like the Olympics.

4.  What is the one question you feel has not been asked that you would like to answer?  Possibly, there is more than one question.

How does the Coastal Act affect any of these questions? Bonin seems to be assuming the City can do whatever it wants, but state law trumps City law, and the Coastal Act mandates coastal access and “coastal dependent” uses.

Why is Bonin allowing Snapchat to run roughshod over the community, breaking land use and state housing (Mello Act) laws and turning areas of the Venice Coastal Zone into a corporate campus?

What good is the Mello Act, a state law protecting housing in the Coastal Zone, and especially affordable housing, if the City has no intention of enforcing it? Why has Bonin’s Mello Act implementation ordinance been sitting at the PLUM Committee for over a year, while illegal conversions and evictions go on without the Council Office lifting a finger to answer our cries for them to stop this?

Why has the Councilmember allowed over two thousand units of housing, much of it affordable, to be illegally converted into short-term rentals during the worst housing crisis in the City’s recent history?

Why has the Councilmember consistently refused to meet with Oakwood activists trying to save their community from destruction and over-development, even after numerous violations by developers had been uncovered?

Why is the Councilmember spending City money on a private security force for the BID along the beach, instead of getting us the police we need?

Why did the Coastal Commission rescind its grants to the City for the Local Coastal Program, which Bonin had declared his #1 priority at the beginning of his term? Or put another way, why did the Councilmember Bonin fail to meet a single one of the grants’ benchmarks over the past four years?

 

Mark Ryavec

1.Venetians west of Lincoln Blvd want preferential parking.  They feel preferential parking would solve many of the parking and camping issues in Venice.  It has been stated that the council office is the one dragging its feet to meet the California Coastal Commission minimum requirements to get preferential parking.  If elected, what steps would you take to get preferential parking in Venice west of Lincoln.  Why do you feel this has this not been done?  Would you make this a priority?

I would introduce a Motion to implement Jim Murez’s proposal to count all the Beach Impact Zone parking spaces which have been built since the Venice Local Coastal Specific Plan was adopted about 25 years ago.  BIZ parking is in addition to code required parking and was built specifically to provide parking to visitors.  These should be traded for Coastal Commission approval to convert an equal number of street spaces to preferential parking for residents.  This has not been done because Mr. Bonin is hostile to the concept of preferential parking for residents; I know this because Bill Rosendahl told me this during our earlier fight for overnight restricted parking.

2.  It appears self-evident that the sale of the Thatcher Yard and the Venice Median Parking lot would house many more homeless if the properties were sold and monies used to build elsewhere.  How would you, or do you,  justify building on these lots knowing this or would you sell and build elsewhere. 

I would re-zone the Thatcher Yard to R1 and sell it and place the proceeds in the City Housing Trust Fund to build units on less expensive land inland.  I would leave the decision on the deposition of the Venice Blvd. Median lots to the residents and VNC.  It could remain a parking lot, it could be ground-leased for a mix of underground automated parking, market rate condos and work force apartments, some open space, performance space/small theater, ground floor retail along Pacific, and maybe studio/living units for low income artists.  I would work with the community and neighbors to see what people would like to see there, if anything.  Just because Bonin “gave” it to the Mayor for inclusion in the Mayor’s budget as a site for homeless housing does not in my estimation mean that it could not just remain as parking.

3. The mayor and our city council are advocating enthusiastically to bring the 2024 Olympics to Los Angeles.  According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “A growing number of economists argue that both the short- and long-term benefits of hosting the games are at best exaggerated and at worst nonexistent, leaving many host countries with large debts and maintenance liabilities.” Given that the city already has the worst traffic in the country and a looming budget,  what is your basis for supporting the  L.A. 2024 Olympics?

We proved in 1984 that Los Angeles is an exception to the rule that says all Olympic cities lose money and end up terribly in debt.  We have even more sports facilities than in 1984 so I’m confident that we can pull off a spectacular, debt-free Olympic Games.  We handled traffic well in 1984 and now have added mass transit with more coming online before 2024, so I think we can handle the traffic, too.

4.  What is the one question you feel has not been asked that you would like to answer?  Possibly, there is more than one question.

The question that I think should be asked is what would I do if the Trump Administration moves to lease federal lots off shore to renew oil drilling off of LA’s coast.

With my long history fighting both on-shore and off-shore oil drilling, I would use the council position to lead efforts with other cities and environmental organizations and the Coastal Commission to block at every turn resumption of oil drilling along the California coastline.  We owe it to our residents and our tourist-driven economy to preserve the coast and ocean from the environmental degradation we saw decades ago in Santa Barbara and more recently in the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico.  No matter what assurances the oil industry gives, no technology is fail proof.  And we must continue to move away from fossil fuels while continuing to invest in renewable energy sources.