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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

3rd–Formerly Lined with Homeless–Shows Signs of Normalcy

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(Photos courtesy of Rick Swinger.) North end of 3rd seems very normal.  South end, near Sunset, is starting to repopulate with homeless on the sidewalk.

The infamous 3rd Avenue in Venice is showing signs of possibly evolving as  a normal Venice Street with people parking and women pushing the baby carriages.

Rick Swinger, resident of Rose near 3rd, took an active part and started a Go Fund Me account to help with the costs.  One Friday in mid September, the Sanitation department took the “stuff” lined up on Rose fitting the category of too big for the 60-gallon can in accordance with LAMC 56.11 and stored the items in the downtown storage facility.  People came back from the beach to find that their “stuff” had been put in storage.

Close to this happening, the County Disease Control declared a Hepatitis A outbreak in County and stated that homeless were particularly vulnerable.  At the same time residents and homeless were complaining about produce being dumped on 3rd and creating a rat infestation.

Canals Overflow; Tide and Tidal Gates

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Water was high enough in the canals to approach the sidewalks.

Flooding hit the Venice historic canals Thursday evening but did subside without doing any damage.

By Darryl DuFay

Note:  Darryl Dufay who writes Voice of the Canals had the following summary.

The normal water level in the Venice Canals has been restored.

On Thursday starting after 6:00 p.m., there were problems at the two tidal gates, which control the water level in the canals.

The master tidal gate at the Marina del Rey jetty, which controls the water coming into the canals, had a malfunction of their automated system, resulting in their gates being open. The gates at Washington Blvd. were open in anticipation of a 4.2 tide for 8:13 this morning, which depended on the proper functioning of the jetty gate.  Those problems are currently being carefully taken care of.

The high water situation was rectified by normal tidal flows. At 7:00 p.m, a maximum six foot high tide was reached. By 8:30, last night the water was draining back to the Pacific Ocean and the water level fell by over one foot.

Mariposa Horticulture immediately sent out a crew when notified of the high water level.

Swinger Wants Beach Street Drains Fenced With Proper Signage

Rick Swinger, resident of north Venice, wants the storm drains that outlet onto the beach to be fenced and bare signs letting all know that the water is contaminated street runoff.    It is not ocean water.

Around July, the County fills in the holes with sand.  In the meantime, beach goers, particularly children, play in the calm water, not knowing it is contaminated water, not ocean water.

When the rains come, the runoff makes a hole in the beach, and it looks like a pond formed by the ocean. Rick says that he has seen kids swim in the water.

Before the next rains come, Rick wants plans started to have these areas along the Venice beach, such as the the ones shown at Rose and Thornton,  fenced off and proper signage applied to keep people out of the water. The one on Rose is next to a playground.  He complained to the County Health Department and they gave him a sign but it quickly disappeared.

“Also Hepatitis in found at the pool at the end of our beaches storm drains where the homeless are often seen using them as their toilet.Kids are known to play in them and it just takes a small cut to be infected,” according to Rick Swinger. “Kids immune systems are just developing so this is a major threat to their health and wellness.”

Santa Monica does this as shown in the video.

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Street drainage outlet at Rose.

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Street drainage outlet at Thornton.

Cancelled — LADOT- Bonin Town Hall at Loyola Marymount University

Venetians,  residents from Playa del Rey , Vista del Mar commuters — The town hall, open house that was to be conducted by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and Councilman Mike Bonin at Loyola Marymount University Saturday has been cancelled.

Below is the LADOT press release.

LADOT supports Councilmember Bonin’s request for changes on Vista del Mar, and will engage in an additional public process around safety improvements in Playa del Rey.

We understand that Councilmember Bonin is working to broker an agreement with Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn to improve access to parking at Dockweiler Beach. This will open up new options for LADOT to add one additional travel lane southbound from Waterview Street to Imperial Highway and one additional travel lane northbound from Imperial Highway to Napoleon Street by removing all parking on Vista Del Mar. This construction is currently anticipated to begin in mid August.

LADOT made some recent modifications to help to improve traffic flow on Culver Blvd from Nicholson to Jefferson. This weekend, the department is also modifying the traffic light at Vista del Mar and Culver Blvd to improve traffic flow through this intersection.

As a result of the above changes to the project, LADOT’s Saturday 7/29 Open House at LMU is postponed until further notice. For additional project information, please visit http://playadelrey.lacity.org/ or e-mail ladot.playadelrey@lacity.org.

Vista del Mar to be Restored to Four Lanes — Two North, Two South

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Vista del Mar will have its lanes restored; work to start within three weeks. Signal phasing at Culver – Vista del Mar will be changed this weekend. A neighborhood task force will evaluate the restoration of the other lanes that were removed and possible other safety measures that can be initiated.

It appears Supervisor Janice Hahn and Manhattan Beach City Councilmembers Amy Hobath and Richard Montgomery were all in discussions with Councilman Mike Bonin.

LADOT will still be having a Town Hall with Councilman Bonin for residents Saturday (29 July) from 1 to 3 pm at Roski Hall, Loyola Marymount University, regarding “Safe Streets” for Playa del Rey.

The following is the press release from Councilman Mike Bonin.

PLAYA DEL REY – Councilmember Mike Bonin today announced major changes to road safety improvements in Playa del Rey, including restoration of lanes to Vista Del Mar, and formation of task force to evaluate road safety projects in the neighborhood.

Thanks to the assistance of Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Bonin said, transportation officials will be able to implement changes to Vista Del Mar that still address the City’s liability issues and maintain coastal access.

Hahn directed the county to make free or affordable parking available at the existing county beach parking lot, allowing the city to remove street parking on Vista Del Mar and restore the roadway to two lanes in either direction. The lane reduction was controversial, sparking outrage from commuters who demanded a different solution.

“I said that I was listening, and that I would eagerly embrace an alternative solution that met the requirements of improving safety and maintaining coastal access,” Bonin said. “Thanks to Janice Hahn, we have that alternative.”

“My constituents were frustrated by the impact this project had on their daily commutes,” said Supervisor Hahn. “I am relieved that we were able to come together and find a solution that restores the lanes and prevents pedestrian accidents.”

Bonin also announced that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation will make changes to the signal phasing and the turn at the intersection Vista Del Mar and Culver Boulevard, allowing for better traffic flow through the intersection, unclogging an area of congestion.

The changes to the signal will happen this weekend. County Public Works and Los Angeles Department of Transportation officials expect that work to restore the lanes should begin within three weeks.

Additionally, Bonin announced formation of a Playa del Rey Road Safety Task Force that will evaluate and make recommendations regarding all of the road safety projects in the area, including those on Culver, Jefferson and Pershing, where lanes have also been reduced. The task force will be composed of neighbors who support the projects, neighbors who oppose the projects, local small business people, and safe streets advocates. It will also welcome the participation of other residents, of commuters, and of agencies or entities that can bring expertise or financial resources to the table — such as the County of Los Angeles and the cities of the South Bay. The task force will be asked to make a report with recommendations on whether to keep, reverse or modify the those projects. They will do so 90 days after the changes are made to Vista Del Mar.

“These projects have been very controversial and divisive for the community, with strong opinions on both sides,” Bonin said. “With the task force, I am confident we will be able to bring all perspectives to the table for a civil conversation and sober analysis, and determine the best path forward.”

The groundwork for both announcements was also laid in part through discussions with Manhattan Beach Councilmembers Amy Howorth and Richard Montgomery, which proved helpful in initiating an ongoing dialogue among South Bay cities and the City of Los Angeles, with the goal of collaborating on a solution.

“We are grateful to Supervisor Hahn for her efforts and applaud Councilmember Bonin for addressing the concerns of the South Bay commuters. It takes a leader to listen to residents and reverse direction when policy doesn’t go as planned,” commented Manhattan Beach Mayor Pro Tem Amy Howorth and Councilmember Richard Montgomery.

In the video (https://youtu.be/YStV2baeYoo) message announcing the changes, Bonin apologized to those impacted by the projects.

“If you are one of the many people who were inconvenienced, who were late to work, or who missed a bedtime story with your toddler, I am truly sorry,’ Bonin said. “We are working to make this right.”

Bonin, a safe streets advocate, also noted that neighborhoods in Los Angeles suffer from an epidemic of auto collisions, and city officials must slow speeds in certain neighborhoods to combat it.

“Speed kills. Public safety has to be the top priority on our roads, and the City cannot shy from that commitment,” he said. Bonin noted that the leading cause of death in Los Angeles County for children under the age of 14 is traffic collisions, and the people most likely to be killed in collisions are children, seniors, pedestrians, and cyclists. He also noted that LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told the City Council earlier this year that the city had seen more traffic fatalities than gang-related homicides.

For more information about the Playa del Rey road safety projects, please visit www.11thdistrict.com.

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.

Japanese American Memorial Monument Dedicated

By Darryl DuFay

Community members overflowed the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln Blvd Thursday morning to celebrate the ten years of work that resulted in the dedication of the Japanese American Memorial Monument.

There were City Council, County Supervisors, Mayors, National Park Service, and Board of Public Works members or their representatives.   Speeches were given by members of the community and by city officials who helped with the monument as well as people who were in the interment camp who shared some  of their experiences.

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Phyllis Hayashibara at the podium.

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Recognition of the monument committee members.

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Surviving locals who were interned. Then and Now. Yosh Tomita passed away earlier in year.

VNC to Hold Public Safety Townhall & Forum, 27 April

The Venice Neighborhood Committee will hold a Townhall and Formum Thursday, 27 April from 6:30 to 9 pm at the Animo Venice Charter High School, 820 Broadway, Venice. Present for the forum will be representatives from LAPD, City Attorney’s office, Bureau of Sanitation, LAPD investigators, Department of Transportation, Emergency Communications systems, Homeless Outreach and Proactive Engagement (HOPE) unit.

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C3 Team at St. Joseph’s is Moving Homeless into Housing

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Solimar Ferguson of LAHSA (Los Angeles Housing Services Authority) and Tia Drayton, registered nurse with County Department of Public Health are shown returning to St. Joseph Center after visiting homeless on 3rd Ave. They are part of the C3 team assigned to Venice.

 

Venice’s C3 Team is starting to move homeless into housing.  After just five months in operations, they have some numbers.

C3 is a county, city, community team headquartered at St. Joseph Center to help the homeless in Venice, specifically the area from Dewey to Washington Blvd, Lincoln to Main. Their purpose is to engage, assist, and house. Head of the group is Stephen Butler, assistant vice president of programs at St. Joseph Center.

This writer met with Tia, Solimar, and Steve in December of last year. This writer wanted to observe the team in action on 3rd. Steve briefly explained the operation before departing.

Immediately, after leaving St. Joseph’s to Hampton Dr, we saw two women across the street. Tia and Solimar immediately crossed the street toward them.

Here were two well-dressed, diminutive women rolling up a tent that they had used for the night. This writer would loved to have been able to take a picture of these two because they were the “poster children” for “get rid of homelessness in Los Angels today, not tomorrow.” They expressed a seldom seen extreme of  homelessness and they did it with humility and dignity. They were not the stereotype homeless that are seen on the streets or beach of Venice. They looked like semi-professionals, and without the tent, one would never have guessed they were homeless.

This writer walked with the three on 3rd as they talked with the homeless and asked them how they were. Tia re-bandaged a cut on one arm. Tia was equipped with a first-aid kit, and when asked about it being part of the equipment, she said “Oh, yah,” like it was a given for what she did. They had to return, so that day, other than the bandage, it was a meet and “what can we do for you.”

Trust, for the homeless, takes time and engagement. There is an enormous amount of paper work involved after one gains trust to get to the place when one is handed a key to his own apartment.

Stephen said “the team has a lot of different responsibilities when it comes to best serving our unhoused neighbors, which includes coordinating medical and mental health care; re-connecting to past service providers; facilitating connection to income; procuring key documents for housing; navigating the coordinated entry system; and transportation to different types of bridge and permanent housing.

“They assist is the process of getting folks connected to resources like bridge housing, substance use services, medical assessment and treatment, as well as linkage to other resources that lead to health, harm reduction, and housing.”

This writer met Stephen at a Homeless Committee meeting the other night and Stephen was happy to report that the one lady, and he knew immediately that this writer knew who he was talking about, had her own apartment now. That day neither lady wanted to give any particulars. But apparently, one did and now has her own place.

When one hears news like that, one feels both immediate happiness and relief and the thought plays often in one’s head. Cannot imagine the joy the workers must feel when they place someone.

The walk was done in December and there were no figures at the time. They started 24 October. Now they have the follwing figures for the five months in operation, ending 31 March.

People Engaged: 269 (12-month Goal: 300)

People Assisted: 111 (12-month Goal: 150)

Interim Housing Placements: 41 (12-month Goal: n/a)

Assigned to Permanent Housing: 28 (12-month Goal: n/a)

Moved into Permanent Housing: 5 (12-month Goal: 75)

“We have 28 people ‘assigned to housing,’” wrote Stephen. “This means that the person has been connected to some type of voucher or rental assistance, and has a case worker helping him navigate the housing process. The 41 people in interim housing are no longer on the streets of Venice!”

Trump’s Budget Threatens Some LA Homeless Programs

Los Angeles, CA (March 31, 2017) -The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) Commission has unanimously approved a resolution in support of programs and resources to help people experiencing homelessness that are threatened in President Trump’s proposed budget.

The proposed budget would eliminate the Community Development Block Grant program as well as the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which together provide over $140 million annually that in part serve the homeless in Los Angeles County.

“The proposed cuts to HUD and HHS would be catastrophic for the efforts to end homelessness in Los Angeles County,” said Wendy Greuel, chair of the LAHSA Commission. “The Commission will continue to advocate for funding for homeless programs on the federal level to ensure no one calls the streets their home.”

The proposed budget would reduce the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by $6 billion and the Health and Human Services Department by $15 billion.

The resolution also references the importance of the Legal Services Corporation and the Interagency Council on Homelessness, which would be eliminated under President Trump’s proposed budget. The Commission supports full funding for these programs and others that provide critical services and housing to people experiencing homelessness.

The full text of the resolution can be found here.

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is a joint powers authority of the City and County of Los Angeles, created in 1993 to address the problems of homelessness in Los Angeles County. LAHSA is the lead agency in the HUD-funded Los Angeles Continuum of Care, and coordinates and manages more than $132 million annually in federal, state, county and city funds for programs providing shelter, housing and services to homeless persons. For more information visit www.lahsa.org.