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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Hollywood’s Rich and Famous are Fleeing City Because of Liberal Politics that Plague LA

Hollywood’s Apocalypse NOW: Rich and famous are fleeing in droves as liberal politics and coronavirus turn City of Dreams into cesspit plagued by junkies and violent criminals


Cartoon Man Draws Again


If there is a pro-Bonin cartoonist, Update would be happy to publish a cartoon.

VSA Speaks Out Against AB718

Venice Stakeholders Association (VSA) spoke out in opposition to Assembly Bill 718 proposed by Assemblyman Kansen Chu. This is the letter addressed to assemblywoman Autumn Burke.

Dear Assemblywoman Burke:
I am writing on behalf of our organization to urge you to vote against Assembly Bill 718 (Chu).

The Venice Stakeholders Association is composed of residents in Venice, California, dedicated to improving neighborhood safety in our beach community.
We led the effort to remove over 250 RVs and campers from our community that previously occupied the curbs in front of our residences on a full-time basis, with all the problems attendant to the use of residential streets as an urban campground.

We are suing the City and County of Los Angeles for maintaining a dangerous public nuisance along the Venice Beach Recreation Area, which resulted from the City and County’s failure to enforce the Beach Curfew and the ban on camping in City parks. We also have lobbied for the reinstatement of enforcement of the City’s ordinance banning lying, sitting, sleeping on public rights-of-way.
Our opposition to AB 718 is driven by our experiences over many years with the noxious effects of people lodging in their vehicles in residential neighborhoods, which would be allowed under AB 718.

We have seen on many, many occasions car campers use residential gardens, parkways and garage aprons as latrines. We have been frequently awakened at night by all the late night noise of fights, arguments and drunken partying that these campers generate. We have been forced to park several blocks away from our homes as the parking in front of homes is taken up by those living in their vehicles. (And we’ve seen overnight restricted parking for our neighborhood rejected three times by the California Coastal Commission, so that is not a solution to the dearth of parking we face in Venice.) We’ve cleaned up all the trash dumped by car campers on our parkways and streets. We witnessed the assault-by-vehicle by drunken car camper Nathan Campbell upon 17 pedestrians on the Venice Boardwalk, which left Italian visitor Alice Gruppioni dead. We live in fear of car break-ins and residential burglaries as vehicle lodgers forage for funds to support their drug habits.

We would ask that this bill be rejected and that instead the Legislature support the proposal before the Los Angeles City Council to create a handful of parking areas located at significant distance from residences where a pilot program can be introduced to test the concept of vehicular lodging under a local permit system and in collaboration with social service agencies. Leaving on the street those who are forced by circumstances to live in their vehicles is not a solution and they should not be abandoned to such a life. AB 718 simply locks in place a desperate lifestyle while offering no alternatives.
Thank you for your consideration of our views on this bill. Sincerely yours,
Mark Ryavec
Mark Ryavec, President
cc: Senator Ben Allen

Video Shows Fighting at Windward/Pacific

By Mark Ryavec
Corner of Pacific and Windward clip shows two transients fighting this morning (27 May). This is not far from where Brendon Glenn was fatally shot. No police in sight.

As sure as the sun comes on Venice Beach we will have more tragedies here until Mike Bonin, Eric Garcetti, Rec. and Parks and the LAPD stop the camping that is attracting these folks from all over the nation.

Should Venice get more police as temperature rises?

Venetians know traffic increases proportionately to the increase in temperature at the beach and the season has nothing to do with it. But what about police? With more people at the beach having fun, shouldn’t there be more police?

Mark Ryavec, president of Venice Stakeholders Association, has something to say about that.

His words are in reaction to “Is Charlie Beck a Climate-Change Denier” in the first print version of Yo Venice.

By Mark Ryavec
This might appear to be an odd question, but it
has significant implications for the safety of residents
and visitors in Venice.

Anyone who has lived here for the last three
decades, as I have, knows that the weather we have
been having is bizarre. Cool and rainy is the historical
weather in winter and early spring. But since
Jan. 1 we have had 18 days above 77 degrees and 10
days above 84 degrees. We hit 93 on March 14.

These conditions draw many of Los Angeles
County’s 10 million residents to the beach to cool
off, and a good proportion of them come to Venice.
Estimates range from 11 to 16 million visitors
annually. This causes a severe strain on public
safety, one that is apparently not understood at the
highest levels of the Los Angeles Police Department.
It appears that Chief Charlie Beck and his
management team do not accept that climate patterns
have changed and that visitor flow to Venice
has increased with it.

Two LAPD officers recently told me that on
these very hot days they are “slammed” and cannot
keep up with the situation. The huge increase in
visitors requires that they focus on gang suppression,
traffic violations, accidents, an increase in
crime, more radio calls, etc.

This distracts them from enforcing quality-of-life
ordinances that are important to residents, like
the ban on open alcohol containers in public,
harassment of residents, trespass on private property,
public defecation and urination, drug dealing,
illegal camping along Venice Beach and total
blockage of sidewalks by transient encampments, a
violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
This is because enforcing these laws will usually
take two officers off the beach for at least half a day
to transport and book the offenders. The Beach
Detail commander and officers have told me that
officers cannot in good conscience be absent from
Venice when the visitor numbers skyrocket.

The LAPD focus on visitors has other ramifications.
For example, a plan to fully enforce the 12-
5 am Beach Curfew and the ban on camping in the
Venice Beach Recreation Area – including an
LAPD presence in the Venice Beach Recreation
Area (VBRA) at 4 am – is on hold due to the diversion
of staffing to daytime hours. The result is that
the VBRA continues to be a powerful magnet for
transients from across the nation, including a percentage
of criminals, mentally ill and the drug-addled.

On a recent stroll along Venice Beach at
5 am, I counted at least 26 people camping in tents,
lean-tos or out in the open in sleeping bags. (Due to
the poor lighting there may have been many more
that I could not see.) It only takes one of these disaffected
transients in a drugged-out state to lose it
and someone gets hurt or killed, as we saw with the
vehicle assault that left Italian newlywed Alice
Gruppioni dead and 16 people injured on the
Boardwalk less than two years ago. And as we witnessed
just recently when a transient bit off the tip
of the finger of Clabe Hartley, the owner of the
Cow’s End restaurant on Washington Boulevard.
The transient had been harassing Hartley’s customers.
When Hartley moved in to defend his customers,
the transient attacked him – with his teeth.

As many Venetians know, Venice receives a
summer compliment of about 35 additional officers
starting with Memorial Day. (Some years ago,
when there were several incidents of gang-related
violence on the Boardwalk, the number was
higher). The purpose of the additional officers is to
cope with the huge increase in visitors drawn by
warmer weather and school vacations. And to prevent
gang conflicts that can quickly careen out of
control and cause harm to innocent bystanders.
With the very hot temperatures we’ve been
seeing, the LAPD should have followed the crowds
and implemented demand staffing that automatically
put additional officers in Venice when the
temperature is predicted to go over 74 degrees.

Captain Nicole Alberca, the new commander
of Pacific Division, told me recently that she had
requested additional staffing for hot days but been
told by LAPD headquarters to find the officers by
reassigning within Pacific Division. But the visitors
are largely from other parts of Los Angeles or the
County’s other 87 cities, not from just Pacific Division.
If the increased summer staffing is to address
the increase in visitors than logically Venice
deserves the increase whenever the temps go over
74 degrees. There is even a good argument that
County sheriffs should also be posted here since a
large number of visitors are not from the City of
Los Angeles but rather from other cities in the
County of Los Angeles or from points farther

Captain Alberca acknowledged that when
thousands of our inland neighbors seek relief in
Venice from extreme temperatures, the LAPD
presence is very thin in comparison with the size of
the crowds and that attention to resident concerns

We have long passed the time that City and
County leaders should have realized that Venice is
the most popular, free recreational destination in
Southern California and that it requires significantly
more police resources from both the City and
County whenever temperatures go up, which is
now happening more frequently due to climate

259 Hampton Appeal Hearing Play by Play

259 Hampton
Sauce at 259 Hampton.

This project was approved by planning and was appealed by Ilana Marosi as an unfit project for Venice. Marosi did her homework, garnered a group of residents within 500 feet of project, added concerned residents of 320 Sunset and residents affected by 600 Mildred (Kim’s Market), and presented her case. She had crime statistics, alcohol licensing data, and photos of how store was operating as a restaurant with only an approved take-out use. She had maps showing social services within area and schools.

This is a classic case of how to win against the odds. Marosi’s appeal was upheld and decision was unanimous last week. And yes, we all know that even with the best of facts, laws with us, etc., we sometimes lose.

Venice Update does a “hats off” to this group of concerned citizens who took their precious time to make Venice a better, more lawful place. Roxanne Brown does a superb job of reporting this incident.

By Roxanne Brown

Sauce inside
Operating as restaurant with tables inside.

Sauce patio
Operating with patio service.

Here is what I mean. 259 Hampton, currently called Sauce, has a permit for retail/take out, but has been operating as a sit down restaurant (with tables inside and outside on the sidewalk) for five years. Without going through Venice’s Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) and the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC), the city approved “change of use” to a restaurant with liquor license and roof top deck, even though it is a mere 15 feet from residents’ homes, on a block with churches, day care and a synagogue – and provides no parking.

Sitting behind me at the hearing, all together in a row, were Stephen Vitalich (architect for 259 Hampton, 320 Sunset’s Gjusta, and 600 Mildred’s Kim’s Market), Sam Marshall (architect for 259), and Fran Camaj (owner of Gjelina, GTA, Gjusta at 320 Sunset, and 1301 & 1305 Abbot Kinney).

Sitting near me in the front row were Ilana Marosi, the appellant, and Robin Rudisill, chair of Venice Land Use and Planning committee, along with residents owning properties and living within 500 feet of 259 Hampton. These residents say they were unaware of this project until Marosi informed them of the appeal. Members of Concerned Neighbors of 320 Sunset and Stop 600 Mildred (both similar problematic projects) were also in attendance.

Prior to 259’s appeal being heard, Chris Robertson, director of Land Use and Planning in Councilman Bonin’s office asked Marosi to step out of the hearing room and meet with representatives from City Planning, Kevin Jones (who replaced Greg Shoop), Zoning Department’s Theodore Irving, and 259’s architects, Stephen Vitalich and Sam Marshall. Two other people, not shown, were also there. It was a male and female who refused to give their names, but later identified themselves to me as the owners of 259 Hampton.

Marosi said she felt she was being coerced by this group of seven people as they attempted to convince her to delay the hearing, arguing that they had just discovered there were two different sets of plans approved for 259 Hampton.

Marosi declined delaying, as she thought the city already knew about the discrepancy in plans. After all, she knew, so how is it they didn’t? Marosi asked Robertson about this. Robertson reluctantly admitted that she had reached out to city planners eight days ago [to discuss the issue], but had heard nothing in response.

There were four representatives from the city. In addition to Jones and Irving, Senior City Planner, Shanna Bonstin was there, along with Katherine Phelan, Deputy City Attorney.

The Appeal Hearing began with Jones from city planning stating, “…planning department recommends that you deny the appeal…sustain the determination.” Irving confirmed that this was also zoning’s stance. City planning and zoning urged the commission to delay the hearing for two weeks so that they could get the plans in order.

President of the Area Planning Commission, Thomas Donovan, said that since the appellant and residents had already waited [nearly four hours] to be heard, the commission would hear the case. Venice residents at the hearing welcomed his strong stand.

In addition to President Donovan, the Commission consisted of Commission Vice President, Joseph Halper, and three Commissioners: Esther Margulies, Marian Merritt, and Lisa Waltz Morocco.

Commissioner Morocco began with the fact that 259 Hampton is in a county tract allowing 2 on sale [alcohol licenses] plus 2 off sale (total of 4) and there are currently 12 on sale and 3 off site (total of 15). She further noted an LAPD report showed there were 539 crimes in the area – four times the citywide average. She had a copy of the LAPD’s letter (evidence provided by the appellant) stating that the LAPD wanted no more liquor licenses in the area. She asked, “How could the city approve this?”

Irving replied, “It’s a tourist attraction, not a typical neighborhood, being a destination place. This is why ZA [Zoning Administration] approved CUB [Conditional Permit – Beverage] and we still stand by that approval.” Here I must tell those of you who were not there, “tourist destination” was an answer oft repeated by Irving. If you’ve seen Saturday Night Live’s “cheeseburger, cheeseburger” skit, you get the idea.

Commissioner Margulies, who happens to be a resident of Venice, stated, “One person’s tourist attraction is another person’s neighborhood.” Margulies also asked, “How can you call for noise mitigation and then say it’s only required if it’s feasible?” The city’s response was convoluted.

Commission President Donovan asked why the CUB was for five years as opposed to the normal two years. Irving answered, “We don’t want to be punitive at this stage.”

Vitalich was given the first opportunity to speak and stated that the, “Appeal should be denied as the planning department recommended.” Vitalich then said the wait had been so long that the applicant had left and the hearing should be delayed.

Vitalich began to present the project, when his colleague Sam Marshall walked up to the microphone, interrupted Vitalich and said, “The planning department, zoning department and council’s office took us outside, told us that this would be continued. As a result, the applicant has left along with a lot of people that were going to be here. We just want this on the record. We were told this was not going to be happening this evening.”

Irving looked at Commission President Donovan and said, “You already started this process. You’re more than welcome to continue it.” A bit later, Irving interjected that city planning and zoning do not have the authority to stop the hearing.

Vitalich went on to address noise mitigation, saying he had submitted a 12-page report done by an audio expert. Unfortunately, the commissioners hadn’t been given this report in their case review paperwork. Nor was it in the case files when Marosi twice reviewed them prior to the hearing.

Vitalich addressed parking by saying that the applicant was agreeable to valet parking and taking advantage of beach parking at the end of Rose Avenue, which is ½ mile away. Commission Vice President Halper said, “Excuse me, I don’t believe you legally can do that. I don’t believe the Coastal Commission would approve the use of beach parking.”

Marosi addressed residents’ concerns. The retail/take out at 259 Hampton, Sauce, is already operating illegally as a restaurant. Concerns with change of use include: increased noise, traffic, congestion, lack of parking, near a beach access route, too close to residents’ homes, daycare, schools, synagogues, and over concentration of alcohol licenses.

It was now residents’ turn to speak and testify. Here are some highlights.

James McCullogh, a sound engineer who has worked with Katie Perry and a long list of celebrities, testified that even if 259 Hampton were enclosed (proposal is for open rooftop deck), residents would at best have a 50% increase in ambient noise level. He went on to say, “It’s hard to grasp the concept of good neighbor – what use are conditions (going to provide) when the applicant has been illegally operating for five years. This doesn’t give any substance to laws.”

Noel Gould, a recording engineer with an impressive resume,testified that sound gets out through windows and open doors, and it bounces around – it echoes, echoes, echoes. Plus, he said sound travels higher and wider at night due to the inversion layer and can also do so during the day with dense cloud cover. Gould testified that people for blocks around would be hearing the noise from 259 Hampton.

Gabriel Ruspini, a VNC LUPC member, speaking here as a concerned resident – pondered out loud, “How a private project could be approved when it encroached on the public right of away.” In plans/renderings, it seems the rooftop deck hangs over public right of way. Currently, 259’s restaurant tables on the sidewalk block public right of way.

Brad Looney, a surfer who manages 236 Hampton and was there to represent 12 units, testified that he is seeing waste being dumped down the alley between 259 Hampton and residential units along that alley. Since 259 doesn’t have a permit for restaurant, they also don’t have the required dumpsters and methods of disposal for toxic products. Every night Brad watches 259’s personnel pour liquid down the alley. “It runs down the gutter and into the ocean.”

Sarah Shoup stated, “Building and Safety knew 259 was operating illegally and didn’t enforce it. We can’t let 259 change of use happen, because the city can’t control conditions.”

Robin Rudisill, LUPC Chair, there as a concerned resident asked, “Why is city planning putting such projects forward? Why does the city reward illegal operations – no violations, no penalties?” She could not understand with 259’s open-air plan, serving alcohol at all hours, how could noise be mitigated?

Roxanne Brown I spoke and noted that on the CUB application, a copy of which I had in my hand, the question whether this project was within 1,000 feet of churches, synagogues, schools had been answered with a “NO.”

I then presented a map showing that the 200 block of Hampton contains two churches, a synagogue with pre-school/day care and St. Joseph’s Center, which provides daily religious services and day care. One church is 32 feet from 259 Hampton, Synagogue – 360 feet, St. Josephs – 265 feet and St. Clement Catholic Church – 515 feet.

Parking was a big subject. Elaine Spierer summed up the views of many, “These virtual parking places that are approved you know they’re like in the ozone. You can’t park virtually. And worse than that they never collect the money from these people. It’s just like a shell game.”

Amanda Borja spoke. She lives behind Gjusta at 320 Sunset with her toddler and husband. She spoke about how noisy having a bakery next door is – delivery trucks, cars, patrons talking. With that much noise from a bakery, how could the city consider a restaurant at 259 Hampton?

Borja went on to say, “This project in no way benefits the Venice Community. We have an overabundance [of restaurants serving alcohol]. Tourists – why do they hold more weight than the residents? This isn’t Universal Studios or Disneyland. It’s a beach. Alcohol benefits the business, not the community.”

Borja said she can’t get her stroller near 259 Hampton with so many people, skateboarders, bicyclists, pedestrians, and many vehicles, at this congested intersection of Rose and Hampton.

Ed and Diem Zobrist reside in San Francisco and were here for the hearing. They own a multi-unit property across the street from 259 Hampton, where their children live, along with other residents. Mr. Zobrist expressed his concerns about how narrow Hampton is, how little parking already exists, and people constantly doing U-Turns (the 200 block of Hampton ends and a one-way going the opposite direction begins at Marine). He said they already hear loud people coming and going [to and from restaurants serving alcohol] on Main Street – keep them on Main.

Mr. Zobrist also said to me, “I’ve heard of 6 months and a year for conditional use. Five years is ridiculous. That would mean the city and residents have five years to decide whether having alcohol at 259 is a nuisance – could be a five year nightmare.”

Lori Geller (she and her husband own a multi-unit property across from 259) noted how proud they are of their property and that her tenants are professionals who need sleep.

Geller went on to say, “Valet – that made my heart race. That’s all my tenants need – valets swinging around the block. Design an open aired building – this is insane – on a street with churches and synagogue and kids – that’s even more insane. To think that I’m standing here seven hours – if you walked on our street, you’d all be laughing. That’s how insane this project is. It cannot happen.”

Sergeant Robin Richards stated that the Los Angeles Police Department opposes the project, due to high concentration of alcohol in the area, and the impact it would have on the neighborhood.

Vitalich’s closing remarks included, “If the [city] staff recommendations are to deny the appeal and the staff recommendations are all based on merit and evidence then I think the commission has a responsibility to be consistent with that.”

Marosi was then given the opportunity to speak. Venice Update captured her closing remarks in last week’s report.

The Commission asked Robertson to weigh in with Bonin’s recommendation. Robertson stated, “We’re not taking a position on this project at this time. We don’t have plans showing what was approved…so without adequate information, we’re uncomfortable.”

Prior to their decision, the Commission had more questions; one regarded having a handicapped parking space. Shanna Bonstin, Senior City Planner said she would “have a go” and stated that with zero parking available at 259 Hampton, a handicapped space is not required.

The Commission’s President, Vice President and Commissioners then each stated reasons for their conclusions. In unanimous agreement, the Commission voted to uphold the appeal and deny the proposed project at 259 Hampton. Residents rejoiced in hearing the Commission’s voice of reason.

SUMMARY – Brown’s Opinion
All of the Area Planning Commissioners could decipher the information and make a decision based on the plans on file. Marosi was able to sort through the confusion and decipher the plans and information. [Note to the city: You may want to hire Marosi.]

Citizens throughout LA are experiencing what we experienced at this hearing. The city appears to favor moneyed special interests that flout the laws. The city seems to be greasing the wheels for them.

It appeared obvious that the applicants had been assured their project at 259 Hampton would go through. In my opinion, the city seems to be accepting lies on the CUB application, approving and providing conflicting plans, and playing a game of confusion – not to mention coercing the appellant.

Wouldn’t it be less costly in time, money, and energy if the city advocated for businesses that follow procedures (LUPC and VNC review), obey the laws and are considerate and respectful of their neighbors? We’re all for those businesses!

Ryavec Speaks at CCC Regarding Venice Beach

Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association, spoke before the California Coastal Commission (CCC) Friday at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium about obstacles at Venice Beach to the visitor-serving mandate of the Coastal Act.

He also addressed historic preservation. See “Ryavec Addresses CCC About ‘Historic Preservation.’

Over the last year and a half the City of Los Angeles has allowed the Venice Beach Recreation Area to become Skid Row West.

I would advise you that you should walk the entire length of the Boardwalk from Rose to Windward to fully understand the truth of my statement. Permanent encampments of transients have literally occupied many areas of the park along the Boardwalk and deny them to visitors and residents alike.

These encampments act as incubators for crime inland; for example, there have been five home invasions in my immediate neighborhood since last April committed by transients living along Venice breach.

Due to the unwillingness of the City officials – the mayor, the councilman, the Department of Recreation and Parks and the LAPD – to enforce existing laws against camping in parks in the City of Los Angeles, our organization has filed a lawsuit, funded by residents, against the City for maintaining a dangerous public nuisance along Venice beach.

We strongly support the City’s midnight to 5 AM beach curfew, which is the only measure that gives some respite to residents from the very loud and dangerous conditions that would otherwise exist in the park along the Boardwalk at night. Our attorneys – and now the Los Angeles City Attorney – believe the curfew is a legal exercise of the City’s inherent police powers and thus exempt from the Coastal Act. Before you consider filing a lawsuit against the City to require that it apply for a CDP you should spend a night on Venice Beach with the LAPD and some adjacent residents to understand our need for the curfew to remain in place as it currently operates to offer a modicum of protection and relief to residents.

Your commission might also give some thought to whether by illegally allowing encampments in a coastal park that the City is denying use of these areas to visitors and thus the City is in violation of the Coastal Act.

Extra Space Was Voting Precinct

Anne Mullins emailed to ask where to vote if one was scheduled to vote at Extra Storage Space. Update called the Registrar-Recorder. As of press time, no one has gotten back.

Go to http://www.lavote.net/Locator/ and put in your address.

Vote Today!

Most voters have received the flyers and heard the speeches. But former Councilman Bill Rosendahl has come up with an “amazing website that makes ballot propositions easy to understand and actually fun,” he wrote. See www.SeePolitical.com .

Link Gives Them All

Note: Talked about the link but just forgot it last Update.

Wallace Macpherson provided a link that one can use to find out who his supervisor is, who his senator is, who his congressperson is etc. All one has to do is input his address, and then highlight the address. All pertinent current districts will be displayed.