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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

LUPC is the One and On a Roll

LUPC,Avalon
At the Avalon Room, Cafe Gratitude. Left to right are: Ramsey Daham, Todd Darling, Chair Robin Rudisill, Kathleen Rawson, Maury Ruano, Mehrnoosh Mojallali, and Gabriel Ruspini.

LUPC,baroque
At Beyond Baroque. Left to right are: Todd Darling, Mark Kleiman, Co-Chair Robert Aronson, Chair Robin Rudisill, Maury Ruano, and Gabriel Ruspini. It takes two photos to show them all.

Elections are coming and the most important committees for the Venice Neighborhood Council is the Land Use and Planning Committee or more locally referred to as LUPC (Lou-Peck).

The Chair position, held by Robin Rudisill for the last two years, will be on the ballot again. So far, three people have thrown their hats in the ring for this position. The individual members, who make up the LUP committee, will be selected by the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) members after the election.

Robin Rudisill, when she first took over, changed the Wednesday meet at the Oakwood Recreation Center from Wednesdays to Tuesdays and then later to Mondays — first and last of the month. Where she changed it was the fun part — it was the mystery involved with “where.” Sometimes one did not know until appearing at the appointed place only to find out it was to be somewhere else.

This article was written some time ago and waited to be published until a decent photo of all the members could be obtained. A good photo never happened and it is almost time for a new group to replace this group. So it is time to get to it.

LUPC is still on a roll …

Yes, LUPC it on a roll … literally they are mobile … one never knows where they will be next … it is a mystery that is solved sometimes just before the meet.

Frankly, if you aren’t intrigued by the cases that Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) has, you might consider the meeting places. One has to admit the surroundings, the meeting places, are always different and challenging.

Many times the meets were at Foursquare church on Rialto, before that 512 Rose, next to Café Gratitude in the Avalon Room. Before that it was at the Whaler, Washington at Ocean Front Walk, south side. Meet before that was at the Terrace Restaurant, Washington at Ocean Front Walk, north side. It has been in the theater at the old Venice jail, Beyond Baroque

Follow the Breadcrumbs
Sometimes one doesn’t know until hours before but there are always direction notes that breadcrumb one to the site.

All these places still beat the continuous bouncing of the basketballs and the yelling of the kids at Oakwood Recreation Center, not to mention the closing doors.

Theater at Beyond Baroque was okay but cold. Lighting was challenging for the board. The Terrace restaurant has its own sound and that was of the kitchen or yelling sports fans during events. Whaler had the sound of happy customers, and this time, the added treat of samples from the kitchen being munched and discussed. People were stacked in the Whaler main floor but that didn’t stop them from coming and going, commenting, and munching.

LUPC, frankly to say the least, is never a dull moment. One can count on at least two opinions—each opposing the other.

Chair Robin Rudisill conducts the meet with total attention to those addressing a project and to the details of it. Might be likened to a three-ringed circus in the background, when people in audience get talking. And then there is always a sharp, well-deserved “quiet” from Rudisill.

Most Important VNC Committee
But all kidding aside this is where people from the neighborhood look at projects aimed for building in Venice. This is the most important committee that the Venice Neighborhood Council has. It helps shape Venice, what it will look like tomorrow.

The LUPC committee consists of attorneys, architects, business people, builders. They are all volunteers who devote their time to help address and balance the quaintness and, yet sophistication, of Venice. They apply to and are individually selected by vote of Venice Neighborhood Council members to serve a two-year term. The selection occurs after the general election and a chair is elected.

Each Member Gets a Case
Each member is assigned a case and that person gathers all the facts pertaining to the project. This means interfacing with the City Planning department, collecting pertinent documents and sometimes documents that have been archived, talking with the architect/builder, setting up and/or just attending a neighborhood meet about the project. Everything pertaining to the project, the LUPC member should know. He presents the project to LUPC and VNC, and later, presents results to the City, This is a daunting task one has to admit.

LUPC Recommends
LUPC is not a final yes or no to a project. It is a recommendation of approval or disapproval and sometimes with conditions, qualifications that then go to the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC). The VNC hears the case and can accept, not accept, or change the LUPC recommendation or portion thereof. The VNC then recommends approval or disapproval with its own criteria. After that it goes to the City with the recommendation from Venice Neighborhood Council, LUPC. The City agrees or doesn’t agree with the VNC.

Yes, the City does its own thing, but by the time the case gets to the City, the project is tempered by the members of LUPC and later honed by the members of the Venice Neighborhood Council.

These are talented, professionals who have a day job. Each of these members warrants a separate interview.

Robin Rudisill, Chair
Robert Aronson, Vice Chair
Mehrnoosh Mojallali
Kathleen Rawson
Ramsey Daham
Maury Ruano
Todd Darling
Mark Kleiman
Gabriel Ruspini

Cameras and Loudspeakers Installed at Venice Beach

camera

By David Graham-Caso
Fulfilling a commitment he made shortly after taking office, Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin today announced that a new, high-tech and durable security camera and loudspeaker system has been installed at Venice Beach.

“An estimated 16 million people come to Venice Beach every year to see this quintessential part of Los Angeles,” said Bonin. “An area this important and busy demands top-notch security tools to keep people safe. These new cameras and loudspeakers will help prevent and solve crimes and protect people in the event of an emergency.”

Bonin has been working with the City Department of Recreation and Parks and Los Angeles Police Department to install security cameras at Venice Beach, and the installation of 21 new cameras and speaker system was completed earlier this year. The cameras, which have been installed throughout the public park, are monitored by trained LAPD officers and have already proven effective, assisting officers and detectives with the identification of suspects and helping in the successful prosecution of criminal activity.

“The addition of the cameras along Ocean Front Walk is a welcomed technological improvement and has already proven to be a valuable investigative tool,” said LAPD Pacific Division Captain Nicole Alberca. “This project is an example of our collaborative forward momentum in improving the quality of life and keeping Venice a safe place to live, work and visit.”

The cameras were recommended in the Venice Beach Needs Assessment, a report the City Council commissioned at Bonin’s request shortly after he was sworn-in in 2013. The report identified key security upgrades that would improve safety at the two-mile long public park, which also serves as a residential neighborhood and commercial district. The idea of security cameras in Venice was widely supported, and the Venice Neighborhood Council voted in favor of the camera installation in 2013.

The cameras were donated to the City by Samsung, and Bonin and his staff worked with the Department of Recreation and Parks, LAPD, the City’s Information Technology Agency, Time Warner Cable and Leverage Information Systems to secure the necessary permits and install the system throughout the Venice Beach area.

Several of the cameras have loudspeaker capabilities, which allow police officers to direct and manage crowds in the event of an emergency. In addition to helping prevent and prosecute criminal activity, the cameras are a useful tool in other common situations at Venice Beach, such as locating missing children when they are separated from their families.

Saga of Wind and the Venice Walk and Bike Paths

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How clean it looks right after the rig leaves and then just around the corner.

Sand1
This is what sand can do.

Sand3
Narrow path at the jetty also gets buried under the sand when it is windy.

Wind reeks havoc on the Venice bike path, the walks along ocean front walk, and the Venice jetty walk. Wherever there is sand next to a walk or bike path, the wind can just bury it.

County Department of Beaches and Harbors is responsible for keeping the bike path from Malibu to Redondo Beach clear and clean. The department cleans it twice a week. The City Department of Parks and Recreation is responsible for the grass area, east of the path and next to the sand. The wind blows westerly and blows the sand against the grassy areas, which act as barriers. The sand accumulates on the grassy areas and at the border of the bike path.

“Candidate Recruitment” BBQ Signs Some; Deadline 6 April

election
Elizabeth Wright, Co-chair of the VNC election committee helps Juliette Vigneaux sign up for Chair, Land Use and Planning, and Colleen Saro for Community Officer.

Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) “Candidate Recruitment” BBQ Saturday at Oakwood Recreation Center had some signups for the VNC 21 vacant offices but many offices still lack a candidate. For those who are still undeclared, the deadline is midnight, 6 April.

Next “Candidate Recruitment” event will be “Politics Ain’t for Sissies,” starring the Venice political power stars, the honorables Debra Bowen, Ruth Galanter, and Betsy Butler, and hosted by former Venice Neighborhood Council President Linda Lucks.

So Far those who have declared themselves candidates are:

President — Ira Koslow

Vice President — Yolanda Gonzalez
— Mark Lipman

Chair, Land Use and Planning — Vytas Juskys
— Thomas R. Sauer

Community Officer — Haseeb Rahman
— Joe Murphy
— Nate Golon
— Shep Stern

Election Events to come:

31 March — Candidate Recruitment event “Politics Ain’t for Sissies,” 7-9 pm at Westminster Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
6 April — Candidate filing closes 11:59 pm
9 April — Deadline to submit candidate photos and statements for viewing on EmpowerLA.org
13 April — Candidate Orientation
18 April — Deadline to challenge Candidate certification
21 April — Deadline to withdraw candidacy
25 May — Tentative deadline to submit photos and statements for VNC Election Guide that will be hand distributed throughout the VNC area
2 June — Candidate Forum
5 June — VENICE NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL ELECTION
8 June — Deadline for provisional voter supporting documentation
10June — Deadline to request recount or challenge

Venetians Dislike New Big Blue Bus Route

bus

MAP
Maps showing the new and the old routes will be displayed when obtained.

Venetians filled the auditorium and then told Councilman Mike Bonin, who hosted the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus transit forum, that there had been no outreach, that this new, imposed bus routing was not safe, that it was inadequate, and it was not in the best interest of Venice residents. Venetians had not had the opportunity to provide any input and they did not like the outcome.

Bonin said the change to the bus line was to accommodate Venice and Marina del Rey residents who wanted to use the Expo line that will open in Santa Monica. By the end of the program Bonin said the transit people should rethink and do an outreach to the people of Venice who are affected. It appeared that this new routing had already passed the City Council of Santa Monica and was in operation and had been since 21 February.

The Westminster auditorium was filled with dissidents who had heard of the meet by word of mouth. Many spoke.

Carolyn Rios said it was great “regional planning, but poor local planning.” Students were now without a close bus for going to school.

One senior citizen did not know how to get to drug store to fill her prescription.

Others had a presentation or presented their own arguments that the new routes chosen, such as Ocean and 4th were unsafe and not thought out as far as emergency vehicle accommodation, road width, traffic, and safety for citizens.

Barbara Gibson mentioned that the corner of Rose and 4th would loose all parking on one corner to accommodate the bus. To lose all parking in front of an older building, leaves residents without parking in proximity to their residence.

The Santa Monica Big Blue Bus is a municipal bus operator in the Westside region of Los Angeles County. It provides local and bus rapid transit service in Santa Monica and adjacent neighborhoods of Los Angeles (including LAX). Express service is also provided to Downtown Los Angeles and Union Station.

Guarded by Uniformed Gentleman With Two Canons

Guard

better2

Ever wonder why a foreign country’s war ship has not entered Marina del Rey … or even pirates entering to take a sneak peak. Unknown to many, a gentleman, dressed in a Revolutionary War-type uniform, has been stationed on top of a building near the entrance to the channel, on the south side. He has two cannons aimed upstream of the Marina.

Ryavac Discusses Cityhood for Venice

cityhood

Mark
By Mark Ryavac

Many years ago I joined with other residents to research the prospects for Venice to detach from Los Angeles and form an independent city. At that time frustration with scores of gang-related shootings in Oakwood and under-policing along the Boardwalk, lack of resident parking and the on-going loss of Venice’s Craftsman architecture led many Venetians to think that we could manage our town better than the bureaucrats downtown. T-shirts were printed to publicize our cause; they showed an iconic Venice pillar capped by our unique capital on one side and the call to action – REVENICE – on the reverse.

We got an incorporation guide from the Los Angeles County Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO) that laid out the steps. We then obtained the relevant tax revenue data for Venice, entered it into the formula provided in the guide and determined that Venice would have enough revenue, from property, sales, and hotel occupancy tax and other fees, to easily support a municipal government with all the usual services. Instead of setting up its own police department, the City of Venice would have had to contract with the County for the services of the Sheriff’s Department, but many smaller cities have done this for years, including Malibu and West Hollywood. With the tremendous increase in property tax assessments over the last 25 years, triggered by Proposition 13 as sales occur, I doubt there is any question that the City of Venice could support itself today.

Host City Can Say No
The stumbling block at that time was the State law governing detachment of an area from an existing city. The law gave the voters of the host city the right by a majority vote to reject the detachment proposal of the smaller area, as we saw in the failure of the San Fernando Valley to win independence in 2002. Valleyites voted by a bare 50.7 majority to secede while the rest of Los Angeles rejected the proposal by a 2 to 1 margin. Case closed for the Valley.

With new calls for cityhood for Venice, I revisited the steps necessary to secede and found that since 2002 the State has made it even more difficult. While Government Code Section 56751 provides a process for detachment, it also gives the host city the right to kill the proposal by a simple declaration asking that the secession bid be terminated. Even if the City Council does not kill it early in the process, under the State law voters citywide would still have to approve Venice secession. This is not likely due to the historic opposition of city labor unions to the prospect of losing union jobs or the generous salaries, benefits and pensions they now enjoy (smaller cities rarely pay as well as Los Angeles).

But, Perhaps, Because Venice was a City
However, Venice is a special case. While other areas of Los Angeles were simply unincorporated territory when they were annexed by Los Angeles, we were an independent city when we voted to annex ourselves to the City in 1926. That history of independence should give us standing to ask for an easier path back to cityhood.

Here is the Motion for VNC
So, for those who wish to pursue cityhood I offer the following Motion for consideration by the Venice Neighborhood Council:

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’s 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 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 to a vote of all voters in the jurisdiction of the City of Los Angeles.

These amendments would leave the decision to secede with the registered votes of Venice – as it should be. We have been married for a while, it hasn’t worked out all that well, and now we’d like to go our separate way.

The other option that I see is for Venice and other like-minded districts to pursue amendments to the City Charter to create a means to matriculate from the neighborhood council model to a new, yet to be defined borough government model. Under a borough system, control of many city services and decision-making powers would devolve to local residents.

Here are some examples for consideration:

A new seven member borough council – elected by district to ensure representation of all parts of Venice – would be able to choose a local police commander from three candidates submitted for consideration by the Los Angeles Chief of Police. The commander would be physically officed in Venice and would control officers assigned to Venice.

Under a similar system, there would be Venice administrators for most city departments chosen from qualified candidates submitted by the heads of certain city departments. So, there would be borough-appointed heads of parks, street services, sanitation, urban forestry, planning, parking enforcement, etc., in Venice (We probably would not need a local director for DWP service, and certainly not for the Harbor Department or LAX.)

Planning decisions would be made by a zoning administrator assigned and officed in Venice and initial appeals would go to a Venice Planning Commission appointed by the borough council. The Venice commission would replace the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission, with appeals going to the borough council not the City Council, as is the current practice.

Planning laws – such as revisions to the Venice Local Coastal Specific Plan – would be drafted by the Planning Department’s Venice representative in consultation with the Venice Planning Commission, though would require final approval of the Los Angeles City Council.

Eventually a percentage of all revenue generated in Venice would remain in a separate Venice account of the City’s Finance Department and it would be used for discretionary projects selected by the borough council.

Under a borough model, the voices of Venice residents would move from being advisory to a degree of local control.

The process to move towards borough councils with devolved city powers would be initiated by a charter reform commission – appointed by the City Council – charged with developing the specific language to submit to city voters. In my model, moving from a neighborhood council to the borough model would require a vote of each district’s residents. The City might also set some minimum period for operation of a district’s neighborhood council before it could propose to graduate to the borough system.

For many years residents of Venice have felt neglected by the City of Los Angeles. This disillusionment stretches all the way back to the 1926 annexation vote and the subsequent filling in of the original canals by the engineers of the City of Los Angeles and the failure over many decades of the City to honor its annexation promise to build a sewage treatment plant to keep sewage from Ballona Creek from washing up on Venice beaches. This frustration has certainly continued over the 28 years I have resided in Venice; sometimes I think it is only our incredible weather, sun and sea air that keeps us from outright revolt at the conditions foisted upon us by an uncaring and incompetent city government.

Unfortunately, little will change until Venice re-establishes cityhood or wins back a modicum of control of city services and decisions under a borough government.

VNC 2016 Election Begins

election

The Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) June election is off and running. This card will be circulated to Venice residents encouraging them to run for office, to participate in the VNC.

VNC Election is Happening

Candidates

Venice Neighborhood Council bi-annual election gets underway with a “candidate recruitment” kickoff at the Canal Club last Thursday. The new board will be installed at the June Board meeting.

There are 21 offices to be filled. So far only seven members have stated they will not run again.

The following are the events to come.

12 Mar — Candidate Recruitment BBQ – noon – 2 pm, Oakwood recreational Center, 767 California St

31 Mar — Candidate Recruitment event “Politics Ain’t for Sissies,” 7-9 pm at Westminster Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd.

6 Apr — Candidate filing closes 11:59 pm

9 Apr — Deadline to submit candidate photos and statements for viewing on EmpowerLA.org

13 Apr — Candidate Orientation

18 Apr — Deadline to challenge Candidate certification

21 Apr — Deadline to withdraw candidacy

25 May — Tentative deadline to submit photos and statements for VNC Election Guide that will be hand distributed throughout the VNC area

2 Jun — Candidate Forum

5 Jun — VENICE NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL ELECTION

8 Jun — Deadline for provisional voter supporting documentation

10 Jun — Deadline to request recount or challenge

VNC Does Green Again

Green

VNC Release–The Venice Neighborhood Council (www.venicenc.org) will host the 2nd annual GREEN VENICE EXPO 2.0 on Saturday, April 9th at Mark Twain Middle School from noon to 5pm.

Sponsored by WHOLE FOODS MARKET of Venice and in partnership with Surfrider Foundation, this day-long gathering on green sustainability will feature exhibitors and organizations dedicated to Mother Earth.

Strategies, speakers and demonstrations on how to keep Venice green will be the emphasis of this solutions-based conclave of green sustainability and eco preservation.

Robert Scheer, editor and chief of Thruthdig, will be the featured speaker.

“Last year over 1000 residents, activists and green-friendly individuals gathered together to offer the Venice community specific strategies and solutions for a cleaner and greener Venice,” offered Rob Dew, one of the event’s organizers.

“This year we’re proud to announce that KCRW radio personality and syndicated columnist Robert Scheer will be a speaker,” commented Dew, a local Venice community advocate and activist for several progressive causes.

The event will include governmental, business and not-for-profit exhibitors that will challenge attendees to rethink issues such as recycling, farming, planting, solar energy, community gardening, electric vehicles and bikes, home grown gardening, population growth and other issues that face Venice as supporters of a greener community.

GREEN VENICE EXPO 2.0 is a free event to the public as well as to our exhibitors, speakers and sponsors. Zero waste will be encouraged and supported and we ask all attendees to bring your own eating and drinking utensils. There will be presentations and discussions on walkability/mobility, Green Homes & construction, Ocean health, Grey Water, Permaculture, Renewable Energy and a discussion of the current California drought.

For more information and details about this conference and expo, please email chair-outreach@venicenc.org.

The Venice Neighborhood Council is the grass roots extension of municipal government here in the City of Los Angeles. The council meets once a month at the Westminster elementary school located at 1010 Abbot Kinney Boulevard. For more information contact President Michael Newhouse at president@venicenc.org