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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Ryavec Reacts to Confiscation of Rental Properties

Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association, sent the following letter to the LA Times. We should all be aware of what the State and local governments are trying to do to owners of rental properties.

Today, in a telephonic town hall meeting with constituents, Councilman Mike Bonin revealed his avarice in a plan to use federal funds to buy distressed homes and hotels out of bankruptcy in coming months for use as homeless housing. A hyena, eyeing the weak and vulnerable, comes to mind.

This is outrageous since Mr. Bonin, as a member of the City Council, along with Mayor Garcetti, created the conditions that will certainly place some property owners at risk of default on their mortgages. With only the half of property owners with federally-insured mortgages enjoying protection from foreclosure, many will go, as Bonin says, “belly-up.”

The city itself imposed the closures of non-essential businesses, which will preclude tens of thousands of Angelinos from paying their mortgages. These city leaders have also allowed renters to forego paying rent due to coronavirus losses, without giving similar relief to landlords from having to pay their mortgages.

To scheme to wait until property owners face default, due to conditions dictated by government itself and through no fault of their own, is predatory and immoral.

Homeowners and hotel owners deserve equal protection from the ravages of the economic costs of the fight against Covid-19. In its quest for thousands of units of homeless housing, the City should treat all property owners equally and offer to buy the needed housing units at January 1, 2020 valuations.

Can AB1197 Effect Venice Projects Retroactively? Elizabeth Wright Challenges Venice Update Statement

Elizabeth Wright challenged a statement the Venice Update made stating that making Assembly Bill 1197 apply (retroactively) to Venice Projects already in the works was unconstitutional.

Wright bases her decision on a tax decision and then provides other research, which to this writer only proves that Assembly Bill 1197 being passed to effect projects in the works, specifically in Los Angeles,  is unconstitutional based on the facts presented.

Venice has two court cases which AB 1197 has been used to nullify claims by residents in court.  The two projects are the Venice Median brought by Fight Back Venice and the Bridge Housing project at the MTA lot brought by Venice Stakeholders Association.

Note:  Neither Elizabeth Wright nor this writer are lawyers.

The case of her friend

Years ago a co-worker, along with a small group of others, funded a solar power project partly because of the tax benefits offered for such projects.  Before they could claim the tax benefits, legislation was passed that retroactively eliminated, or significantly reduced them.  Don’t know what kind of project (small as solar power for a church or large as creating a solar farm) or at what level the tax benefits existed (fed, state, county, or city).  It was upheld.  I do not know details.

Research

  1. Art 1, § 9
    1. This prohibits Congress from passing any laws which apply ex post facto.
  2. Art. 1 § 10.
    1. This prohibits the states from passing any laws which apply ex post facto.

What Constitutes Punishment

In the often-cited case of Beazell v. Ohio, 269 U.S. 167 (1925), the Supreme Court defined the scope of the constitutional ex post facto restrictions:

  • “It is settled, by decisions of this Court so well known that their citation may be dispensed with, that any statute which punishes as a crime an act previously committed, which was innocent when done, which makes more burdensome the punishment for a crime, after its commission, or which deprives one charged with crime of any defense available according to law at the time when the act was committed, is prohibited as ex post facto.”

Courts have applied this standard to different parts of the criminal process. California Dep’t of Corrections v. Morales, 514 US 499 (1995) takes the Beazell standard and applies it to the parole process. In Morales, California amended a law to state that the California Board of Prison Terms may defer parole hearings for up to three years for a prisoner convicted of more than one homicide offense. Respondent-defendant Morales was imprisoned before the law was amended, and he was subsequently affected by it when he applied for a parole hearing. In his lawsuit, he claimed that the amendment violated the ex post facto prohibition. The Supreme Court, in applying Beazell, held that an amendment which impacts someone currently imprisoned to a law does not violate ex post facto if the amendment does not increase the punishment attached to the respondent’s crime. The Court held that here, the amendment did not impact Morales’s sentence nor did it impact any substantive attempt to be granted parole. The Court found that a simple alteration of a prisoner’s process of attaining parole does not violate ex post facto prohibitions.

Retroactive Judicial Decisions

At a minimum, ex post facto prohibits legislatures from passing laws which retroactively criminalize behavior. However, this prohibition does not attach as strictly to judicial decisions. Appellate courts sometimes announce a new rule of law, but will not apply it to the case in front of it, in order to attempt to comply with ex post facto prohibitions.

Year and a Day Rule

The Year and a Day Rule is a common law doctrine which states that a person cannot be convicted of homicide for a death that occurs more than a year and a day after his or her act(s) that allegedly caused the death. Rogers v. Tennessee, 532 U.S. 451 (2000) dealt with the doctrine. Defendantpetitioner Rogers had stabbed Bowdery, who died 15 months later.  The trial court found Rogers guilty of murder. When Rogers appealed to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals under the Year and a Day Rule, the appellate court upheld the conviction and abolished the Year and a Day Rule for Tennessee. Rogers ultimately appealed to the Supreme Court, claiming that the appellate court’s action violated the ex post facto prohibition. The Supreme Court in Rogers found that ex post facto was not present here, as the appellate “court’s decision was a routine exercise of common law decisionmaking that brought the law into conformity with reason and common sense.” The Rogers court also referenced a previous Supreme Court decision, Bouie v. City of Columbia, 378 U.S. 347 (1964), which held that “due process prohibits retroactive application of any judicial construction of a criminal statute that is unexpected and indefensible by reference to the law which has been expressed prior to the conduct in issue.” Rogers, considering the holding in Bouie, held that the ex post facto prohibition applies only to legislative decisions, and that even if it were to apply to judicial decisions, the retroactive judicial repeal of the Year and a Day Rule is neither unexpected nor indefensible.

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/IF11293.pdf  (Congressional Research Service)

Retroactive Civil Legislation 

Congress has much greater leeway to enact retroactive legislation in the civil sphere than in the criminal sphere. However, certain constitutional limits apply, and courts interpreting ambiguous statutes apply a general presumption against retroactivity.

 

Council Fails to Pass Extension of 85.02

Note:  This story is reprinted here from the VeniceStakeholdersAssociation.org website with permission from Mark Ryavec.   The City Council is in recess until 30 July.

The Chief of Police announced Friday to his officers that LAMC 85.02 – the ordinance that prevents car camping near schools, parks or in residential neighborhoods – had expired due to the inaction of the City Council to pass a one-paragraph extension of the law.

The implications are dire.  The failure to pass the extension opens the entire city to car camping anywhere – unless No Oversize Vehicle signage or permit parking is in place.  And the No Oversize Vehicle ban does not apply cars, trucks and vans.

In Venice it will allow anyone – including registered sex offenders and child molesters, as well as felons – to live in vehicles next to parks, schools or on any one’s front curb.

It also will prevent the LAPD from stopping the “van lord” from operating a van rental business on public streets that takes up a least 15 public parking spaces in the parking-starved streets around the Windward Traffic Circle and the Venice Post Office.  In the photo, a rental van is being positioned on a block with five units – four apartments and a small house – which have no on-site parking so the residents depend on the availability of street parking.

Already I have seen two occupied vans owned by the “van lord” on Riviera that under 85.02 was a red – no car camping at any time – zone around Westminster Elementary School.

This inaction by the Council is an invitation for anyone and everyone to come to Los Angeles to live in their vehicles, dump their sewage and trash on our streets, and displace even more residents from nearby street parking.

If you are concerned about this situation, please write to Councilman Bonin’s deputy and ask her to urge Bonin to pass the extension of 85.02 with an urgency clause:  morgan.bostic@lacity.org.

 

VSA Files Lawsuit Against City and CCC for Their Approval of MTA Site for Homeless Shelter

(Venice, CA/1-14-19) Today the Venice Stakeholders Association (VSA) filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and the California Coastal Commission (CCC), challenging their approval of a 154-bed homeless shelter in the Venice neighborhood, in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the California Coastal Act and other laws.

“The City and the Coastal Commission jammed this project through the system and bypassed the environmental laws and the Coastal Act,” said Mark Ryavec, president of the VSA, a non-profit corporation dedicated to protecting Venice residents and their neighborhoods.  “No government or project is immune from these laws.”   

The City’s so-called “Bridge Housing” facility would be located in the middle of a residential neighborhood just one block from Venice Beach.  It includes a large semi-permanent “tent” building containing a 100-bed dormitory, an outdoor dining area, a large outdoor kennel for residents’ pets, and several other buildings.  Despite having 154 beds and dozens of staff, the project would have as little as 20 parking spaces.

According to the lawsuit, the City approved the project “at lightning speed,” in just 11 days, while the Coastal Commission approved it in just nine days.  The Venice Neighborhood Council, which is elected by Venice residents, was not even consulted.  “The neighbors and the public were ambushed,” said Ryavec.

Ryavec acknowledged the need for shelters and other facilities to address Venice’s persistent homeless problem.  However, he added, “a residential neighborhood like this one is not the right place for such a project, especially since much of the facility is essentially outdoors, and just across a narrow street from homes.”   

The VSA lawsuit says that the City refused to do any environmental review for the project under CEQA, and the Coastal Commission granted the City a waiver from the usual requirement of a Coastal Development Permit, thereby avoiding any analysis of the impacts of the project on coastal resources such as parking and water quality.

“Just because the City and the Coastal Commission think this project will benefit the public doesn’t mean they can avoid considering its impacts under the environmental laws and the Coastal Act,” said Ryavec.  He noted that other beneficial projects, such as hospitals and schools, must comply with these same laws.

“If a developer proposed a 154-bed convalescent hospital with dozens of staff people, an outdoor kennel and dining facility, just feet from residents’ living rooms, with only 20 parking spaces, the City would require an environmental impact report and mitigation before approving it,” he said.  “A homeless shelter is no different.”

City Council Homeless Committee Approves MTA for Bridge Home; Goes Before City Council 11 Dec; CCC, 12 Dec

 

 

City Council Homeless committee members supported the MTA lot on Sunset between Pacific and Main for Bridge Housing last Wednesday along with places in Wilmington, San Pedro, Watts, and South Los Angeles. A full vote of the City Council members will be Tuesday, 11 December.

Homeless Committee member Councilman Mike Bonin agreed to exempt the MTA lot from a full California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). If approved by the City Council for a shelter, 11 December, the proposal will go before the California Coastal Commission (CCC), 12 December in Newport Beach, 100 Civic Center, Newport Beach, 92660

Executive Director John Ainsworth of CCC has provided exemption of the MTA lot for CEQA necessity because it is temporary. Four votes of the commissions will nullify the CEQA waiver.

Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders, does not agree that CEQA should be waived for the project based on noise and parking. The VSA plan is to present their case for a full CEQA report before the CCC and sue, if necessary, to obtain a CEQA report.

The following are comments Mark Ryavec has made regarding the decision not to have a CEQA.

Comments: I am writing to ask for an ex parte meeting to personally discuss the burden that the Bridge Housing project in Venice will pose for coastal resources, visitors and residents living nearby and request a full environmental review under a Coastal Development Permit application.

This project, the equivalent of a hotel for 154 people with dozens of support staff, including social workers, housing locators, teachers, security personnel, and kitchen and custodial staff, has only nine (9) parking spaces. Already there is no place for residents and visitors to park in this neighborhood, and this project will add an incredible parking demand. The city cannot exclude any applicants because they own a vehicle, so the project will inevitably bring even more vehicles (including campers and RVs) to an area that historically has little parking.

This project will also generate unacceptable noise for residents living as little at 50 feet away, at all hours of the day and night, with no mitigation, from outdoor dining areas, an outdoor kennel (with barking dogs) and the exterior HVAC equipment to heat and cool a huge 30 foot tall building that will house 100 people, along with HVAC equipment for other manufactured housing that will house another 54 people, not mention heating and cooling of many offices. The project also raises serious concerns about coastal pollution.

Encampments in Venice already leach human waste to the storm drain outfall at Rose Avenue, which has been documented by independent test results to contain high levels of e. coli bacteria. Each time new services have been added for the homeless in Venice, the population has grown, as has the resulting coastal pollution, from 400 people four years ago to approximately 1,000 today.

Instead of reducing the population it is likely that the Bridge Housing project will attract even more homeless to Venice. When they cannot be accommodated at the new facility they will camp out nearby, as they do now, for example, at the St. Joseph service center on Lincoln Boulevard. The city of Los Angeles has made no plans to mitigate parking demand, noise or the likely increase in coastal pollution.

Mark Ryavec, president, Venice Stakeholders Association, Founding Director, Board Secretary (1989 to 1999) and State Legislative Director (1999) at American Oceans Campaign, and Member, Board of Governors, Oceana (2005 to 2015)

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Heads of Venice Groups Meet with Press to Discuss Patio Seating at Town Hall and Problems with MTA Site

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Heads of various groups met Monday with Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association, to inform the press they were not pleased with the way the Town Hall was set up such that people would have to go to the patio to hear the Town Hall.

Heads of various neighborhood groups spoke to address their concerns with Bridge Housing in the neighborhood.

VSA Reports MTA Proposed “Bridge Housing” Must Get Coastal Development Permit

(Venice, CA/9-19-18) The California Coastal Commission announced Monday, September 17, that any new homeless shelter proposed in the Coastal Zone of Venice will be required to obtain a Coastal Development Permit (CDP).

This statement came in an electronic message to John Henning, attorney for Venice Stakeholders Association (VSA). Henning had earlier written to the Commission to ask for confirmation of the VSA’s opinion that nothing in the State’s new emergency shelter statute exempts shelters from the Coastal Act, which requires a Coastal Development Permit for any “development” in the Coastal Zone, however minor.

“The proposed Venice Homeless Shelters are not exempt from coastal development permit requirements. Each proposed project will require some type of Coastal Commission review,” stated Charles Posner, Supervisor of Planning for the commission, in his message to Henning.

Mark Ryavec, president of Venice Stakeholders, said, “We are encouraged by this confirmation of the Coastal Act’s jurisdiction over such a large development as the 100-person shelter envisioned by Councilman Bonin for the former MTA bus lot on Main Street. “

“The CDP requirement will automatically trigger an environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act and force the city to quantify and mitigate effects such as traffic, public safety, aesthetics, and noise, especially night time noise, and parking demand.”

“Considering that some of the 100 homeless will include “car campers” who arrive with their vehicles, the City will have to provide a place to park them without taking street parking from visitors and existing residents.”

The CDP and CEQA processes will also force the city to consider alternative sites and give residents a formal hearing in which to comment on the proposal, which Councilman Bonin has to date refused to allow.

Ryavec Requests City Obtain CDP for Metro Site, Provide New Use Approval, and Meet CEQA Requirements for Temporary Use

yard

Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association, announced today (4 June) that  his organization will be filling a letter requesting that the City obtain a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) for the City’s proposed use of the Metro lot as  a “Bridge Housing” shelter.

In addition to the CDP, Ryavec says the City will have to obtain zoning approval for a  change of use to permit the shelter use, and  the property will have to meet the California Environmental Quality Act  (CEQA) requirements for “temporary” use, according to Ryavec.

Councilman Mike Bonin announced this weekend that he wanted to use the 3.5 acre site  for Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Bridge Housing” that he plans for his CD11.  Second spot  on the map is the VA Campus in Brentwood for the “Bridge Housing.” 
The specific details for a “Bridge” are not known to community members.  There is a Community Open House planned for 13 June, 6 to 8 pm at Westminster Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd.

The Metro lot, also known as Metro 6 and MTA for Metropolitan Transit Authority, is in the process of being demolished in preparation for an undisclosed project.

“The temporary use of the bus yard as a stop-gap shelter for the homeless may be appropriate if it moves homeless from existing Venice encampments and prevents the re-use of these sites as encampments in the future,” wrote Ryavec.

“We will propose to the city means to accomplish the closure of existing encampment sites at the same time as the Metro site is brought on-line — after the city meets coastal, zoning and CEQA requirements.”

VSA Appeals Public Nuisance Lawsuit Against City

(Venice, CA/11-6-17) The Venice Stakeholders Association (VSA) has filed its appeal brief in its lawsuit against the City and County of Los Angeles for maintaining a dangerous public nuisance along the Venice Boardwalk and Venice Beach Recreation Area, the public park that stretches from the Santa Monica border to the Marina del Rey jetty.

The VSA’s action is an attempt by residents “to stop the City and County of Los Angeles from maintaining truly disturbing nuisances on their property which have far reaching implications for the health and safety of residents…”

The case arose from a verified complaint alleging (among other things) that the City of Los Angeles and the County of Los Angeles are each maintaining nuisances by, among other things, leaving health and safety hazards in open public spaces, including trash, feces, tampons, drug paraphernalia, human sewage, excrement, blood, urine, sleeping bags, bed rolls, tents, tarps, hammocks, camping equipment, umbrellas, canopies, furniture, canvasses, merchandise, bikes, carts, and more.

The City and County have disputed this, contending they are keeping the area reasonably clean, but plaintiffs submitted evidence contradicting the City and County’s claims of regular maintenance and removal of the hazardous materials.

The evidence in this case presents a classic disputed issue of material fact which precludes summary judgment.

Venice Stakeholders also allege the city is allowing other nuisances on its property, including regular drug use, crimes, excessively loud noises, harassment, vandalism of surrounding properties, illegal camping on public property, regular blocking of sidewalks by bulky items, and many more specific, intolerable conditions visited upon plaintiffs and residents of Venice.

VSA To Appeal Decision Regarding Intolerable Beach Conditions

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By Mark Ryaec, president of Venice Stakeholders Association (VSA)

The VSA’s lawsuit against the City and County of Los Angeles for intolerable conditions along the Venice Boardwalk and beach is finally moving ahead.

After waiting over a year for the trial court to assemble the formal record, our attorney Jonathan Deer, a Venice resident and veteran appellate attorney, has begun work on the VSA’s appeal brief.

Jon’s analysis is that it was inappropriate for the appellate court to initially reverse the trial court’s decision in favor of the VSA and our individual plaintiffs.  Jon maintains that there are issues in the case that must be tried by a jury and thus are not subject to the City’s and County’s  motions for summary judgment.

Jon has agreed to a fixed fee for all legal work, court appearances, etc., involved in the case.  

If you would like to support the suit, contributions from $50 to $1,000 are welcome.  Donations may be made by PayPal on the VSA’s website or by check sent to the VSA, 1615 Andalusia Avenue, Venice, CA  90291.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VSA’s website or by check sent to the VSA, 1615 Andalusia Avenue, Venice, CA  90291.