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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Venice has its own trash and vermin


Dumping on Ocean Front Walk. (All photos are by Rick Swinger.)

By Venice Update Contributor

LA Preserve wrote a commentary regarding Steve Lopez’s article on the rats and dumping in Los Angeles.

Note:   After reviewing this article, Venice Update asks: Is it possible to sue the City regarding the health and safety risk imposed on Venetians?

You have seen photos of the garbage at Penmar, at 7th, at alley behind Thai restaurant. you have seen the garbage as you drive home. You have picked up feces near you if not in front of your house. So you do have some recognition of this situation.  It is unlike other cities in CD11 but similar to Skid Row.  Thought it was only fair to read one about the dumping in Venice.

The Venice Update has printed many stories and photos by Rick Swinger who has started a “No Dumping” campaign in Venice. The No Dumping encompasses both feces on the streets and dumping of produce and other food items.  He has a t-shirt making his point. (By the way, some Update readers have complained that the trash photos are too graphic.)

 

He requested rat proof trash cans for 3rd Ave where the trash is so bad that Bureau of Sanitation comes once a week.  He got instead what he calls rat feeders. City then provided plastic liners. He has been very vocal regarding the rat population on 3rd Ave and has sighted rat holes, dead rats, and has requested the County to investigate.

With all this going on, a group recently protested on 3rd Ave that instead of cleaning the place all the time, that bathrooms would do it.  One private individual did such.  He provided two and asked that clothing not be put down the hole.  The bathrooms were removed after three weeks.  There are bathrooms at the parking lot on Rose, a couple blocks from 3rd, and they have security at night.

Swinger has, at his own expense, run a test of the water at the beach where 3rd Ave dumps.  It is off the charts, yet signs have not been adequately posted to prevent kids from wading in the pool of water which is next to a playground.  Swinger is an environmentalist and lives near the infested area. He tries to make people aware.  He has established a facebook page (Stop Illegal Dumping in Venice Beach) that covers what he is saying.  He has talked with Dr. Drew about typhus epidemic and has corresponded with Elizabeth Greenwood, the deputy city attorney, who is suing the City for 5 million after contracting typhus.

How serious is all this?     Andy Bates, CEO of Union Mission lost a foot from MRSA contracted by walking on the filthy streets of Skid Row. Dr. Drew predicts an epidemic before Garcetti figures it out,

What causes this to happen in Venice?  It is the No.1 provider per capita of low income and supportive housing units on the west side of Los Angeles as defined by the borders of the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission. Furthermore, the Venice Community Plan Area (CPA) is the 8th largest provider per capita of low income and supportive housing units out of all 37 CPA in the City of Los Angeles. Venice has the services so this is the destination for the the United States homeless. There couldn’t be a larger, more accommodating  target — housing and services.

These figures do not include the 472 units planned for Venice.  Is it no wonder Venetians chant “vexit” meaning Venice exit.  There is little chance that it can happen since it would take approval of the City Council and it is the CD11 Councilman Mike Bonin who chairs the dumping here.  Venice has 25 times what Pacific Palisades has and Beverly Hills and Beverly Crest have none.  Venice just cannot get relief from this.  When Venetians say “enough” the services in Venice and the rest of the City holler NIMBY.

Are  Venetians moving?  Yes, they are.  Someone said the other day that it may be called Mike Bonin’s Hole before we know it.  Perhaps, when even he thinks it’s bad, Venice will be allowed to exit the City.

MTA Site, Online Voting, Cityhood, Upgrade of Venice Specific Plan Were All Discussed at VNC Meet

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A large group of people attended to hear the MTA presentation at the VNC meet Tuesday.

By  Angela McGregor

An MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) spokesperson announced MTA will be starting community outreach in the fall for the structure on their site (not bridge housing), a spokesman for City Planning said they were going to upgrade the Venice Specific plan, it was decided for the VNC election to have both online and in-person voting, and the cityhood motion was tabled.  All of these actions happened  at the July Venice Neighborhood Council meet Tuesday night.

Wells Lawson

Wells Lawson

VNC Meeting featured a presentation by Wells Lawson of MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) officials regarding the long-term (post Bridge Housing) plans for the MTA lot on Main Street.  He said the environmental cleanup was finished, and demolition would begin shortly.  MTA’s outreach to the community to determine what type of development Venetians will take roughly 6-9 months, beginning in the fall with Town Halls and VNC Board meetings. 

Late next year, the MTA will present their findings to the Metro Board and, once approved, issue a request for proposals to interested developers.  They anticipate construction will begin on the lot no sooner than 2021.  

Jonathan Hershey

Jonathan Hershey

The Los Angeles Department of City Planning, according to Jonathon Hersey, is embarking on a 3-year process to update neighborhood community plans, including Venice’s, which was last updated in 2000 (seen here:  https://planning.lacity.org/complan/pdf/vencptxt.pdf).  On Tuesday, October 2 they will hold a kickoff event at Westminster Elementary to begin to gather community input, to be followed up with surveys, walking tours with stakeholders and questionnaires.  The website, which is still a work in progress, will be found at www.planning.thewestside.org.  

Taylor Bazley, spokesperson for Mike Bonin’s office, stated that electronic scooters are by far the biggest issue currently concerning Venice residents, judging by the amount of emails the Councilman’s office receives.  He announced that legislation to regulate Birds and Lime Bikes is currently in process and on its way to the city’s Public Safety Committee.  It will include a citywide 2500 device cap per company, and forbid riding the bikes on the sidewalk.  This should be finalized within 1-2 months.

The Board engaged in a contentious discussion of implementing online voting in the next VNC election, which will happen in June of 2019.  Former California Secretary of State Deborah Bowen, a longtime Venice resident, spoke against online voting primarily on the basis of difficulties with accessibility, especially among older residents, since Venice is a “documentation” neighborhood council requiring proof of residency in order to vote, which would presumably mean that voters would have to scan such proof and upload it.  Conversely, VNC Parliamentarian Ivan Spiegel pointed out that with such a system there is nothing to prevent homeless residents, who are exempted from the documentation requirement, from voting multiple times.  Nevertheless, the Board voted to go with both online and in-person voting for the 2019 elections, at an additional expense of $5,000.

Finally, the Board considered a motion regarding cityhood for Venice, in which the Board would call upon the City to amend and revise their current regulation governing local government reorganization.  Currently, in order for neighborhoods such as Venice to separate from Los Angeles, the entire City of Los Angeles would vote on the issue.  The requested amendment would rest that decision solely upon Venice Stakeholders.  

Before the Board could vote, Venice Stakeholders Association President Mark Ryavec rose to explain that he had created a revised motion with Los Angeles’s Local Agency Formation Commission (see:  http://www.lalafco.org/) that would be more Venice-specific, since, as written, the measure on the Board’s agenda might open the door to any neighborhood that had previously been a separate city to easily secede (including San Pedro, the City’s major port), and as such would inevitably be a non-starter when sent to the City Council for consideration.  The Board ultimately decided to table the motion until next month, in order to give the Cityhood Committee time to do more research and present a revision. 

Jocelyn Williams

Jocelyn Williams


New board member Jocelyn Williams was sworn in.

The meeting adjourned around 11pm.  The next meeting of the VNC Neighborhood Council will take place Tuesday, August 21st.

Ryavec Cautions VNC to Accept Original Resolution

Mark Ryavec, president of Venice Stakeholders Association, cautions those working on the Cityhood resolution at the Venice Neighborhood Council Tuesday night to substitute the ad-hoc committee version with the original one.

Ryavec wrote the following to the members of the Venice Neighborhood Council.

Dear Members of the Venice Neighborhood Council,

As the author of the original version of the resolution which is before you Tuesday evening on the matter of Venice cityhood, I urge you to substitute and vote for the original (below).

Asking the governor and our local legislators to amend the State statute governing detachment without outlining specifically the changes required to return the decision solely to Venetians is a faint message that will surely not advance the opportunity for cityhood.  Additionally, unless the City of Los Angeles takes on the cause of changing State law to level the playing field, the Legislature will not take it seriously.  Our first battle is at the Los Angeles City Council; if we cannot convince the Council to remove itself, and, indeed, the rest of the city, from a future Venice cityhood vote, there is no reason to go forward.

I would remind you that my version was vetted by the executive director of Los Angeles County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO).  This is the specific language required to assure that the resolution and any resulting revision to State law pertain to just Venice and no other district of Los Angeles.

Mark Ryavec
Master’s Degree/Urban Studies/CORO Foundation-Occidental College
Legislative Analyst, Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst, Los Angeles City Council
Chief Deputy Assessor, Los Angeles County, with responsibility for legislative affairs
State Legislative Director,  American Oceans Campaign (now Oceana)

 

MOTION (ORIGINAL)

Whereas, Venice was an independent city when residents voted in 1926 to annex itself to the City of Los Angeles; and

Whereas, Venice residents deserve the right to consider reversing that decision free from the burden of it being rejected by other residents living in the rest of Los Angeles; and 

Whereas, Venice residents desire the increased responsiveness of municipal government seen in smaller units of local government, such as our neighbors Santa Monica, Culver City, Malibu and West Hollywood; and

Whereas, Venice is not well served by a city government with only 15 council people for a population of almost four million residents; 

Now, therefore be it resolved that the Venice Neighborhood Council formally requests  the City of Los Angeles to sponsor and support State legislation to amend the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 to void the City of Los Angeles’ right to cause the termination of a detachment request pending before a local area formation commission submitted by a former city which earlier voted to join the City of Los Angeles, which now borders both another city and the Pacific Ocean, and does not contain within its borders an airport or port; and further, to amend that Act to remove the City of Los Angeles’ right to subject to a vote of all voters in the jurisdiction of the City of Los Angeles the detachment of a former city now located within its borders which borders both another city and the Pacific Ocean, and does not contain within its borders an airport or port.

Nick, Cityhood Chair, Not Happy with Bonin or Encampments; Pushes for Cityhood

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By Nick Antonicello, chairman of the Venice Neighborhood Council ad-hoc committee on Cityhood

The encampment at Staples on Lincoln Boulevard in the heart of Venice has now surged to the mouth of the driveway and the entire sidewalk at the entrance as well as the other side of the building across from Chase Bank.

While Councilman Mike Bonin takes victory laps for scamming Venetians into thinking his meeting this week was some kind of legitimate exchange of opinions, he is already moving forward and really doesn’t care what the average person thinks!

He is proudly constructing a ghetto and slum by the sea and he is daring you to stop him!

This is his typical, Machiavellian and condescending politics in action by busing in a bunch of bureaucrats that make money and profit off the misery of the un-housed and nothing changes!

Bill Rosendahl served eight years as councilman and did nothing. Mike Bonin has served some five years as a councilman and sits under the threat of a recall and still does nothing!

That’s 13 years of broken promises and failed public policies and he wonders why the residents of Venice believe he’s nothing but a liar?

Photos were taken on June 15th.

Cityhood for Venice is the only viable option to address the issue of homelessness and so much more. We need Venetians running and governing Venice, not career politicians earning over $1,000,000 in salary and perks courtesy of taxpayers during their term of office!

Nick Antonicello is the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee on Venice Cityhood and can be reached at nantoni@mindspring.com

Venice Decrepit!

Muscle

By Nick Antonicello

The writer is Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee on Venice Cityhood for the Venice Neighborhood Council

What possible excuse can the City of Los Angeles have for letting the weight-lifting equipment at Muscle Beach fall into such embarrassing disrepair (see attached image)?

A major tourist attraction in and of itself, why isn’t the pit in pristine condition?

No city in the United States would allow such an iconic locale that draws hundreds of thousands, if not millions of tourists annually to fall into this kind of disgusting and decrepit shape!

Why doesn’t the City of Los Angeles direct a small portion of the Sales Tax collected in Venice to subsidize the equipment and other capital improvements necessary to keep the boardwalk from its current depressing state?

It’s not just the weight-lifting pit, but the basketball courts and kid’s playground that are deteriorating right before our very eyes!

Why isn’t the Mayor Eric Garcetti or Councilman Mike Bonin doing anything to correct this embarrassing state of the Muscle Beach pit? I’m sure dozens of private companies within the body building genre would donate new equipment tomorrow if they were just asked.

How was this allowed to happen?

I’m sure Gold’s Gym or Arnold himself would be delighted to get this corrected tomorrow!

People ask me all the time why I support cityhood and detachment for the Venice community and here is just another glaring example of the outright mismanagement and incompetence by the Department of Recreation & Parks to monitor the condition of an important and vital city asset such as the Muscle Beach pit! Whoever is responsible to for this complete lack of equipment oversight should be terminated. Clearly they have no business functioning in this capacity!

Venice Beach has been and continues to be ignored for too long when you consider we provide Los Angeles with 2% of LA’s revenue while only being 0.6% of the population!

Could you imagine the Statue of Liberty’s torch falling off in the Hudson River?

Why is the birthplace and Mecca of body building and weight lifting being treated in this fashion?

The myopic and delusional leadership of Los Angeles just doesn’t seem to care. They have no vision for Venice and thus you have just another example of rank incompetence for all to stroll by and witness each and every day!

Does anyone in LA truly care about Venice?

Ryavec Proposes Pursuit of Just De-Annexing Venice

Mark Ryavec proposed that cities formerly independent can opt out of being part of  Los Angeles via legislation.  This he proposed at the VEXIT Town Hall Thursday night.   Now he says “just address de-annexation of Venice.”

At the VEXIT Town Hall, Ryavec proposed the first idea but Jim Murez said that would never happen because the only other “former” city within Los Angeles is San Pedro.  Jim Murez said Los Angeles would never release San Pedro because of the Port of Los Angeles.

Ryavec’s new solution is to make a Motion to just address the de-annexation of Venice.

“The wording of the Motion to just apply to Venice can be accomplished in a variety of ways; the language below is just one possibility,” wrote Ryavec.  Here is his version.

Whereas, Venice was an independent city when residents voted in 1926 to annex itself to the City of Los Angeles; and

Whereas, Venice residents deserve the right to consider reversing that decision free from the burden of it being rejected by other residents living in the rest of Los Angeles; and 

Whereas, Venice residents desire the increased responsiveness of municipal government seen in smaller units of local government, such as our neighbors Santa Monica, Culver City, Malibu and West Hollywood; and

Whereas, Venice is not well served by a city government with only 15 council people for a population of almost four million residents; 

Now, therefore be it resolved that the Venice Neighborhood Council formally requests  the City of Los Angeles to sponsor and support State legislation to amend the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 to void the City of Los Angeles’ right to cause the termination of a detachment request pending before a local area formation commission submitted by a former city which earlier voted to join the City of Los Angeles and does not contain within its borders an airport or port; and further, to amend that Act to remove the City of Los Angeles’ right to subject detachment of a former city now located within its borders which does not contain within its borders an airport or port to a vote of all voters in the jurisdiction of the City of Los Angeles.

“I also would suggest that the advice of Marcus Ruiz Evans from Calexit be pursued,” he wrote.    “I think that the next step for the Venice Neighborhood Council is to raise the funds to retain an accounting firm or economic forecasting firm to perform the analysis of all taxes and fees collected from Venice, not just property taxes.  To that purpose, the Venice Stakeholders Association is open to providing to a professional firm the responses from the City’s Recreation and Parks Department to our public nuisance lawsuit interrogatories outlining the amount of income derived from the Venice Beach Recreation Area from filming and special events in the Venice Beach Recreation Area, which should be considered in such a study of prospective income to the City of Venice.” 

 

 

Can Venice Exit (VEXIT) the City of Los Angeles?

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Left to right are moderator Hollie Stenson and panelists Mayor Fred Gaines of Calibasas; Joe Piasecki, managing editor of the Argonaut; and Marcus Ruiz Evans, President: Yes California Calexit.
panel2
Left to right are panelists Jim Murez, Venice Neighborhood Council board member and local historian; Isaac Simpson, journalist; and Paul Novack, executive officer Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO).
 

Can Venice Exit (VEXIT) the City of Los Angeles was the question being addressed by the six-member panel Thursday evening at the Animo High School.

Members of the panel were Paul Novack, executive officer Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO); Mayor Fred Gaines of Calabasas; Marcus Ruiz Evans, President: Yes California Calexit; Isaac Simpson, journalist;Joe Piasecki, managing editor of Argonaut; Jim Murez, Venice Neighborhood Council board member and local historian as shown above.

Moderator Hollie Stenson stated that “Venice is two percent of the Los Angeles tax base and yet has only .6 percent of the population. “So the questions are: Why wouldn’t Venice want to secede? Why would Los Angeles allow Venice to secede?

Novac of LAFTA spent time explaining each step involved in the various processes of exiting, but thru it all, it appeared that it could be a lost effort.  Other cities have tried, costing themselves a lot of money, and failed.

Mark Ryavec, not a member of the panel, provided his remedy of the long, drawn out, costly process of exiting with unhappy results. He proposed that the citizens get the LA City Council to propose state legislation that would allow a city that had been a city to exit the jurisdiction of the city involved. Venice was once its own city but became a part of Los Angeles. San Pedro is the only other City fitting that criteria.  Jim Murez brought up the point that LA would never release San Pedro because of the Port of Los Angeles.

 

So Ryavec changed his strategy Saturday.  See Ryavec proposes just de-annexing Venice.

 

 

Cityhood Committee Identifying Income Sources

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The Cityhood ad-hoc committee of the Venice Neighborhood Council met last Thursday.  From left to right are Neil Bethke, Maury Murano, Chair Nick Antonicello, Jim Murez, and Yolanda Gonzalez.

By Angela McGregor

The Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Ad-Hoc Cityhood Committee focused on identifying revenue streams in Venice that could be used to prove its financial viability for its first three years of cityhood (A requirement of state law regardless of which of the three possible paths to cityhood are used.).

Revenue sources mentioned at the meeting included sales taxes, parking fees and tickets, filming and special events permit fees and building/demolition fees, all of which will be researched by committee members at various City agencies.

Committee members also discussed efforts to find the original paper work that annexed the City of Venice to the City of Los Angeles in November of 1925 (see: https://freevenicebeachhead.org/2009/01/01/venice-history-%E2%80%93-was-the-annexation-of-venice-to-los-angeles-in-1925-a-good-idea/) to determine whether the original terms of that agreement were violated. Such a violation may have created grounds for a suit to void the annexation.

The Committee’s efforts to determine a path to “Vexit” have received a lot of press attention, links to which can be found here: http://www.venicenc.org/venice-cityhood-news/.

The Committee’s next meeting will be in January of 2017, and they are contemplating several possible guest speakers. Previous presentation by LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) can be found here: http://www.venicenc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Venice-Neighborhood-Council-Presentation-FINAL-No-TPs-09-08-16.pdf

Cityhood Meet Thursday

Cityhood Committee will meet Thursday (3 November), 7 pm at Extra Space Storage, 658 Venice Blvd. There will be a discussion on the financial requirements necessary for Venice’s to become a free-standing municipality.

VNC Ad-Hoc Committee Meetings Forthcoming

Homeless committee will meet 24 October, 6 pm, Venice Public Library, 501 Venice Blvd.

Mass, Scale, and Character meetings, chaired by Sue Kaplan meet every Monday, 7 to 9 pm at the Vera Davis Center, 610 California Ave.

Cityhood committee will meet 3 November, 6 to 8 pm at Extra Storage meeting room, 658 Venice Blvd.