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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Lynn, Greuel Thank Voters for Defeat of Measure S

Peter Lynn, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and Wendy Greuel, Chair of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Commission, both made the following statement regarding Measure S.

We applaud the voters of Los Angeles for their overwhelming rejection of Measure S. They understood that the initiative would have dealt a tremendous blow to the effort to build affordable and low-income housing in the city. With the defeat of S, we can once again turn our full attention to implementation of Proposition HHH, approved by 77 percent of city voters this past November, which will house 9,000 chronically homeless individuals over the next several years. As the voters of Los Angeles made very clear yesterday, the only long-term solution to homelessness is housing.

“No Staph Infection Outbreak in Venice,” Councilman Bonin

“There is no outbreak of staph infection in Venice,” according to Councilman Mike Bonin.

“My office has been in touch with Lava Mae, the County Supervisor’s Office, the Venice City-County-Community Outreach Team (C3) and the nurse practitioner housed at Venice Family Clinic, who works with this population in Venice,” according to a statement by the Councilman.

“People living on the streets are at risk of disease and infection, but all relevant officials assure us there is no abnormal incident of illness in Venice. Supervisor Kuehl’s office has already been in touch with the County Department of Public Health, and has committed to focusing Department of Public Health resources on the area.”

Background

At the Venice Neighborhood Council, a spokesman for Lava Mae stated that 25 percent/or number of the people they saw on 3rd and Rose had MRSA.  The Update when questioning Jasmin Kozowy, director of Lava Mae,  outside the VNC meet and also later the next day, Kozowy said there were only six cases of MRSA that she knew of and those were cases she determined as such based on the MRSA medication they were taking.  She felt there were possibly three other cases based solely on what the sores looked like.

MRSA, according to the Mayo Clinic medical information on internet: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is caused by a type of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections. It is contagious by contact.

The Venice Update Contacted the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 21 December, the day after VNC meet,  and was told to call the Public Health Nurse at SIMMS/MANN Health. This was done. Update requested that the public health nurse assigned to that area contact the Update. No one has ever called the Update. Supposedly, a nurse has been assigned and if there is a problem will report such to CDC.

The Venice Update contacted Debbie Dyner-Harris (22 December), district director for Councilman Bonin, after the story on Nextdoor continued to fan the fear.  She said she would see what Councilman Bonin wanted to do.

The story was in the LA Weekly today or yesterday, 30 -31 December, with quotes exactly as the story was published in Update on 21 December.

Councilman Bonin Statement

“Inexplicably, some people have used this rumor as an argument against providing services to the homeless,” according to Councilman Bonin.   “Rather, I believe that this situation highlights the urgent need to help people who are forced to live on the street by providing them services such as basic hygiene and medical care, as well as resources that will help connect them with housing opportunities. I am grateful for the work of the women and men who provide services and dignity to people living on the streets, as I am for everyone who works every day to end homelessness in our neighborhoods.”

 

Water Backs Up Into Oxford Triangle … As If It Hadn’t Been Fixed

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Water from Oxford Basin backs up into low areas of Oxford Triangle, as if the complete revamp of the Oxford Basin had never happened.

It took a year to “rebuild” the Oxford Basin for it to become a retention container for drainage in the area.  Residents were assured this water backup into Oxford Basin would never happen again.  Residents were concerned about high tide and the locks not letting out water to ocean.  They asked will the water then continue to back up into the Oxford Triangle.  County assured all that it would never happen again.  Before dedication it happened but it was discovered that someone had left the locks locked.

As photos were being taken at about 7 am Sunday morning  the increase was evident.  Photos were sent about 7:30 am to Josh Svensson, chief architect of Oxford Basin for county department of water and power. He called Venice Update and said high tide had occurred and water should start going down … a statement would be made soon.  He was in process of getting it fixed immediately.

Update checked at 8:30 am and water had stopped flowing and street water was receding.

Kerjon Lee, public affairs manager for LA County Public Works, made the following statement:

At approximately 5:30 am Sunday, LA County maintenance crews arrived at Oxford Basin in response to a notification from our 24-hour Dispatch unit. Upon investigating the basin and recently-installed tide gates, crew members found that one of the two six-foot gates was stuck in an open position. This caused the basin to fill with the rising tide, resulting in some water backing up along Oxford Ave. No residential or commercial properties were affected.

Upon further inspection, crews determined that a component of the slide gate actuator, the mechanism that opens and closes the gate, had been damaged.

By 1 pm Sunday, crews had closed the gate and returned the water level in the basin back to normal. The remaining seven-foot gate remains in good operating condition and normal operating levels within the basin will be maintained.

Maintenance crews will meet with the contractor this week to determine the appropriate course of action for repair.

Warning: Bike Path Dangerous

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“Madam Butterfly” Grand Finale for Summer Concerts in Park

Geisha

“Madam Butterfly,” the opera by Giacomo Puccini, packed Burton Chase Park again as the last of the Summer Concerts in the Park, sponsored by County Department of Beaches and Harbors, came to an end.

This year the park added a screen for viewing for those who could not see the main stage. For “Madam Butterfly” a second screen was added.

… and now the money for the homeless

Looks like County will have nothing on the ballot to alleviate homelessness in LA this year. Perhaps in March they will put the quarter cent sales tax measure on the ballot. They have until 9 August to decide for November. This is all according to an editorial in LA Times Tuesday http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-homeless-taxes-20160726-snap-story.html

July 26 LA Times had article about the City, Mike Bonin proposing a 1.5 billion housing bond or a 1.1 billion bond and a parcel tax. All of the initiatives would increase property taxes and require two-third approval by voters. Decision to be made in August.
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-la-council-ballot-20160621-snap-story.html

See Mark Ryavec’s article stating that the County is the governing body responsible for taking care of incompetent, poor, indigent and incapacitated people. https://veniceupdate.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=12640&action=edit&message=6

City Hall Wants Property Owners to Pay for County Failures

Mark Ryavec

Note: The author is president of the Venice Stakeholders Association and the former chief deputy assessor for Los Angeles County.

When it comes to the City of Los Angeles’ proposed $1.2-billion bond for homeless housing, residents should look past the obvious question of whether this will really get the 27,000 people living on our sidewalks into housing.

Instead they should focus on more fundamental questions:

Is this the city’s responsibility?

Is a new tax really needed?

Will the tax burden be spread fairly?

Is an adequate process in place to avoid mismanagement and corruption?

The answer to all four questions: No.

Under California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 17000, counties — not cities — are the government entities primarily responsible for taking care of mentally incompetent, poor, indigent and incapacitated persons.

Yet Los Angeles County provides only $221 per month in general relief (which jumps to a grant of $877 from Social Security if a person is totally disabled). As an old saying goes, the only problem with poor people is that they don’t have any money. If the county had regularly indexed the $221 figure to account for decades of inflation, a significant number of the homeless would be able to afford to live in shared apartments and houses.

In the face of the county shirking its duty, the goodhearted folks at L.A. City Hall have volunteered to help — as long as someone else pays for it.

Before residents let City Hall again put its hand into their wallet, they might consider that the City Administrative Officer is projecting the city’s budget will grow from $5.55 billion to $6.20 billion in just the next four years, with about $650 million in new revenues each year by 2020. If the city simply committed 10% of its planned budget increase over the next 20 years, it could easily pay off the $63 million needed each year to service the bond without a tax increase.

If adopted in November, the bond’s tax burden will fall unevenly, with most of the cost being covered by those who have more recently purchased property, whether houses and condos, apartments, or commercial and industrial buildings. This is due to the operation of Proposition 13, which reassesses properties to market value upon sale (or new construction).

Renters — including those who are quite wealthy — will pay nothing, and those who have owned their property since 1978, when Proposition 13 passed, will pay very little.

While city officials say the average yearly increase would be $44.31 per year for a home assessed at $327,900 (the current median in Los Angeles), the tax on the Westside and other places with more expensive real estate will be far higher.

My duplex, purchased in 1989, is assessed at about $800,000. Over the expected 28 year life of the bond, I would pay an average of about $106 a year (on top of the $1,470 I already pay each year to retire school and community college construction bonds). However, a new buyer of my property, at about a $3.5 million sales price, would pay an average of $473 per year, with a spike in the 11th year to about $800.

These effects play out much differently between apartments and commercial property. The city’s rent control ordinance does not allow apartment owners to pass on property tax increases to renters, so the apartment owners will have to absorb all the increase. But commercial property is frequently under a triple net lease, which requires the lessee to pay the property taxes — meaning lots of mom-and-pop businesses will have to pick up the bill.

With more than $1 billion at play, the potential is high for mismanagement, favoritism and corruption.

However, the oversight committee designed by the City Council has the foxes guarding the hen house.

Four are appointed by the mayor; three by the City Council. And there are no qualifications required — such as 10 years or more of multimillion-dollar construction management experience, or being a certified public accountant. There also is no funding for the committee to hire independent staff or retain experts. Nothing in the bond ordinance prevents the appointment of political cronies or individuals from the affordable housing industry who have a financial interest in which projects are funded.

This all suggests the county, with funding from Sacramento, should finally step up and assume its legal requirement to take care of the homeless. If the city still feels it wants to help, it can fund a housing bond from future revenues. Even without a new tax, strengthening the independence and qualifications of the oversight committee would be prudent.

WIC 1700 reads: Every county and every city and county (i.e.; San Francisco) shall relieve and support all incompetent, poor, indigent persons, and those incapacitated by age, disease, or accident, lawfully resident therein, when such persons are not supported and relieved by their relatives or friends, by their own means, or by state hospitals or other state or private institutions.

Keep Streets, Sidewalks Clean

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Homeless Figures for County, City, but not CD11, Venice

Homelessness for Los Angeles County increased 5.7 percent to almost 47,000 and Los Angeles City increase was 10.8 percent to almost 29,000 according to the Los Angeles Housing Service Agency (LAHSA) figures released this week.

2016 City, County Figures
Figures in parenthesis are 2015 figures.

Last year the Los Angeles Housing Service Agency (LAHSA) showed Los Angeles homeless with a 12 percent increase and Venice with a 16.6 percent increase. Unfortunately, the Venice Update covering the story 19 May 2015 referenced a link to the LAHSA website which is no longer valid.

There is no breakdown by council districts or Venice for 2016 yet. Council district 11 did show an increase of 70 percent from 2013 to 2015. The 2013 homeless count was 1390, and 2015 it was 2359. The following charts are for 2015 Homeless in Council District 11.

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Lester Out!!!

Dr. Charles Lester, executive director of the California Coastal Commission, was voted out.

Lester, despite an heroic effort to keep him in office was fired yesterday (10 Feb), by a vote of 7 to 5 of the commissioners in closed doors.

The LA Times morning edition did not mention the vote, only the online version of the LA Times reflected the decision.

City Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents many of the coastal shore line in Los Angeles, wrote a letter to the California Coastal Commission in support of keeping Lester. Former City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter spoke out in favor of Lester. Venice environmentalists had a petition going to keep Lester and many Venetians attended the hearing in Moro Bay.

It appeared support was throughout the state. The LA Times stated that “153 out of more than 160 commission staff members, 35 former coastal commissioners, 18 state legislators and 10 members of Congress from California opposed the effort to dismiss Lester. Many felt the coast line was at risk without Lester– develop the coast for a few or do not develop and allow all.

Yet, Lester was ousted.

The ouster elicits many questions. LA Times editorial mentions some. The following is a letter from Chairman of Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) Robin Rudisill to City Councilman Mike Bonin. Rudisill wrote the letter stating that the letter represented “an individual” and was not on behalf of the LUPC of the Venice Neighborhood Council.

City Councilman Mike Bonin:
I’m sure you know by now that Lester was voted out.

But most disturbing is that Commissioners who we all thought were supporters of yours and of our southern California coastal communities were the leaders in ousting him.

We are in process of contacting our State legislators, all of whom also supported Lester, to do a full investigation of this matter and assume you will join us. It was also mentioned during Public Comment that there is an organization called LABizFed involved, mostly driven by developer attorneys.

Please don’t fall for the confidential personnel issues explanation…in any case, the Commissioners were very inconsistent in their application of the privacy excuse. Some said that they could not discuss anything about their concerns on Lester’s performance, and others spoke at length about the concerns. I will show you how that story doesn’t add up and how canning Lester is not even a solution to their concerns. They didn’t just show their true colors, they flew them like a flag. The insinuations levied on the organizations supporting Lester, such as the Surfrider Foundation, that their Board of Directors is all white and thus biased against racial diversity were shocking. At a minimum, they were inappropriate coming from a Coastal Commissioner. The consensus I am hearing is that these Commissioners have another agenda.

What they did is a public outrage, and they have undermined the Public Trust of the California Coastal Commission.

When you hear their public statements I’m sure you will be equally outraged and embarrassed for them too. They completely disregarded the Public in their actions today. There was Public Comment all day long, with only one person, who was upset about a permit issue, speaking against Lester out of almost a thousand. The Commissioners had absolutely NO Public or any other input (that we know of…..) supporting a move to oust Lester. The reason for a Public Hearing on this was to give the Commissioners input on this Lester termination decision in the Public Eye. How can there be a Public Hearing where the commissioners completely disregard all of the Public Comment? Doesn’t the “other side” need to also show up and express their concerns?

One can only surmise that these particular Commissioners are either completely ignoring any outside input or that they received a lot of input against Lester from some other source that was not provided or disclosed in the “public eye.” Either option is very concerning and it seems like the process has been breached in some way. At a minimum, due to the way these Commissioners handled this situation, the Public Trust has been severely breached. That is a very serious problem, as summarized in Section 30320 of the Coastal Act, which I also mentioned today in my public comments prior to their vote, and thus it is on the public record:

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Granted, Lester’s position serves “at the pleasure of the Commission,” however, when the decision is made in a way that breaches the Public Trust and undermines the integrity of the Public Hearing process, that creates a different problem.

I’m very happy to report that Commissioners Shallenberger, Groom, Chair Kinsey, Vice Chair Bochco, and Leuvano all respected the Public and voted against the decision to oust Lester.

I look forward to talking with you more about this and what we can do.

Robin Rudisill
(as an individual and not on behalf of the
Venice Neighborhood Council or its Land
Use & Planning Committee)