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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Councilman Bonin to Speak About “Underground Natural Gas Storage Operations” at Sierra Club

Councilman Mike Bonin will address the Sierra Club Tuesday, 19 February, 7 to 8:30 pm, Burton Chase Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey.

Bonin will discuss “SoCal Gas Underground Natural Gas Storage Operations underlying parts of Venice, Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista and Westchester. How does this affect 700,000 residents in our local neighborhood and inhabitants of the Ballona Wetlands? What should you know about SoCal Gas’ pressurized underground gas storage field operations?

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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Was the Town Hall Panel– Garcetti, Councilman, Chief — Listening to the Venetians

By Reta Moser

When Chief of Police Michel Moore during the Town Hall said he would enforce the beach curfew and starting tonight, there was a silent sigh of relief … maybe disbelief. Many felt someone had finally heard Venice.

The panel, consisting of the Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilman Mike Bonin, and Chief of Police Michel Moore heard many a complaint that Venice was lawless, would continue, and that with the bridge housing would get even worse.

Venice homeless make up is different — 90 percent transient; 75 percent addicted
What the Mayor and Councilman do not understand and which many residents tried to explain is that the “make up of the homeless in Venice” is not homeless from Venice, or perhaps, like other areas. The makeup of homeless in Venice are from all over the United States (and many from out of the country), not Venice, and 75 percent of them are addicted to either drugs or alcohol. They are having a party in Venice.

The 75 percent figure was given by both former police Captain Nicole Alberca and Regina Weller, former head of the Venice Homeless Task Force. They further stated the transient population in Venice was 90 percent. One of them said 95 percent and the present Captain James Roberts said these figures were “about right.”

“We own the streets.”
These people are having a blast in Venice as owners and tenants stand aghast, unable to do anything. As the homeless say: “We own the streets.” They wave their cups for money the minute you enter Venice at the Marina freeway and Washington Blvd. The law for solicitation at highway entrances has been upheld to be enforceable. Lincoln is route 1; Marina Freeway is state route 90 at the intersection of route 1. Uphold it!

This street has been trying to get this encampment removed. They violate the ADA rules for access and one can’t even park.

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Crime is up in Venice. Car breakins, tire slashing, stealing, bike theft, panhandling, defecating on public and private property, etc, are not reported. Where do addicts get their money for drugs or alcohol.

Venetians are compassionate and giving
Councilman Mike Bonin continues to talk of two homeless people found in Venice who have been placed, as if Venetians didn’t care. Venice is sympathetic to the homeless. They have donated thousands of dollars to help the homeless. Regina Weller operated on private donations from Venetians. In the over 400 she found permanent housing for, she never placed one who was from Venice although she only operated in Venice.

She insisted that alcoholics and drug addicted people go thru rehab before placement, otherwise they would hinder those in houses where they would be placed and the probability of them leaving housing was very high. Many addicted to alcohol or drugs do not want to be housed. Sometimes they have a moment of wanting to leave their friends, but in most cases, it isn’t lasting.

Bridge for Venice, placing, not placing addicted
They Mayor mentioned that they would not be placing the addicted and then changed his statement to say they would be placed in bridge homes if the City decided to change the rules for Venice. Venice would have rules peculiar to Venice he said. Certainly, one would think they would place those most wanting help first.

Yes, Venice has homeless criminals
The City claims that some of the homeless are not former criminals in Venice. This reporter met one man from Columbus, Ohio who had served 27 years. He had a friend he was talking with who said he was a former criminal too and he couldn’t get a job. They volunteered this information. This reporter would never have asked. So yes, some of the homeless are former criminals. How many?

City studying alternatives; Venetians have alternatives
The Mayor mentioned they were exploring other alternatives. Brian Ulf, chairman  of  board for SHARE!, who helps the homeless thru SHARE! said he had 2000 places available and was waiting for funding to place Venice homeless. It costs time and money to set these people up with their social security numbers, disabilities, and get the money for the rent until the individual’s money starts. This is cheap and fast compared to the bridge concept. SHARE! does take the addicted.

Heidi Roberts and her husband John Betz, both from Venice, have purchased several four-bedroom duplexes, in various areas. They now house 68 former homeless. The team of Roberts and Betz started this year and opened their first place in April that housed 16. They plan to continue doing such. This is so much cheaper, faster than is the bridge concept.

So is the Mayor disingenuous when he says “we are investigating alternatives.” So is the 2.4 million for the El Pueblo, which houses 45, the wrong approach? Did the Mayor, Councilman, Chief understand that the makeup of the homeless in Venice is different than other areas. Would a bridge home be appropriate for Venice? Would it be overkill for Venice? Why not fund Brian Ulf. He will find housing for those wanting housing? Why not do as Roberts and Betz and be a provider that way?

Town Hall was Very Interesting

By Darryl DuFay

Very interesting Town Hall meeting on the MTA “Bridge Home” proposed project.

You arrived at the Westminster School to see dozens of LAPD all over. Of course they didn’t tell you that the parking entrance was going to be on Main St. Something that hadn’t been done before. Off the parking lot they were not prepared to open at 5:00 for a 6:00 start. No surprise there. They had over 1,000 RSVPs. Seating for 400 inside and 200 outside, with sound only. Slowly but steadily filled up. News cameras all around but mostly on the east wall.

It was raucous but in a “measure” way. From the front row where I sat the back and forth waves of noise for and especially against were refreshing from previous meetings where they were only for. First the “FOR” and then a ROARING “NO” that shook the room.

Alexandra “Alex” Cohen was the “moderator.” Her involvement consisted mostly of lining up people to talk. Councilman Mike Bonin, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and LA Chief of Police Michael Moore were present. I don’t believe Moore was scheduled to be part of the extended discussion. He was not named in the official announcement. It was set up for two and Moore grabbed a chair and moved it over to make a trio. Moore’s presence was a welcomed reminder of the overwhelming response this project has aroused. He significantly advanced the Town Hall. Many Fight Back, Venice t-shirts and white shirts

The Chief of Police was impressive. Below is yesterday’s LA Times article on him.

Moore was getting a real education from the audience about what is going on in Venice especially along the beach and Ocean Front Walk. He was as he should be protective of his officers but as the audience continuing to call out their experiences he took increasing interest and concern. Even to acknowledging that he is very serious about closing the beaches from midnight to 6:00 a.m.

I also sensed about 7:45 that Bonin was seeing himself as become more superfluous to the discussion. He chimed in I believe about the use of SHARE as a viable methods of quickly housing the homeless. Garcetti has raised this method for more quickly addressing the homeless problem. It ended after 9:00.

There are enough unanswered questions about the MTA proposal to drill down and get some answers. Chief Moore can be a great asset in demanding information and holding the MTA et al and Bonin’s and Garcetti’s offices to provide our Venice community with more vital and informative discussions than we have had so far.

Bonin and Garcetti are convinced or have convinced themselves that Venice’s homeless are locals. That thought allows them to make comments that the MTA “Bridge Home” will be able to recycle enough people through so Venice’s homeless problem disappears. When, it fact we will see a rise in transient homeless arriving at the “promised land” — VENICE.

http://enewspaper.latimes.com/infinity/article_share.aspx?guid=58aab6a5-d0a3-4552-bb07-0b1cd276a3eb

Venetians Vent at Bridge Housing Town Hall

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Alex Cohen, moderator, Chief of Police Michel Moore, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Councilman Mike Bonin

By Angela McGregor

The announcement and requests for RSVPs for the 17 October, 6pm community meeting with Mayor Garcetti and Councilman Mike Bonin to answer questions about the proposed Bridge Housing Facility at the vacant MTA lot on Main & Sunset was blasted out via email and social media several weeks ago.

Within days anyone attempting to sign up to attend received a notice that the event at Westminster Elementary was full. On Nextdoor and Facebook, members of local groups which oppose the project speculated that, since the notice was sent to everyone in CD11 and not just Venice, priority had been given to the project’s supporters. After all, back in June, at the so-called “Bridge Housing Town Hall”, dozens of Bonin/Bridge Housing supporters had arrived early from all over the city, via a chartered bus, carrying professionally pre-printed signs declaring “Venice Says Yes”.

At a press event at the proposed site on October 15th entitled “Let Venice Speak”, Venice Stakeholders Association President Mark Ryavec declared, “Even though there is not enough room for Venice residents at the Westchester Elementary School auditorium, the invitation for the event was sent to all of Council District 11, from Pacific Palisades to Westchester. We also have been informed that Councilman Bonin has recruited homeless advocates and social service employees from throughout the city to attend and urged them to sign-up early, displacing Venice residents.”

Shortly thereafter, the RSVP site was re-opened, and arrangements were made for overflow seating at the event.

Nevertheless, those opposed to the project arrived early to ensure that their presence was felt inside the venue. By 4 pm — with an hour to go before the doors would open — members of Save Venice Beach and Fight Back, Venice had already set up tables and were handing out printed t-shirts (“Recall Bonin”, “Venice Says No”, “I Walked Here, I Wasn’t Bussed”) and small signs (“Stop Dumping on Venice!”) along with bottles of water.

Standing under the hot sun, they traded personal stories of transient-related crimes that had grown more menacing and more frequent as the numbers of encampments had increased — package and bicycle thefts, break-ins, needles and feces strewn over their sidewalks, alleys and all over the beach. One resident showed a video his wife had made of a homeless man skateboarding up to her, yelling threats and obscenities. Some had lived in Venice for decades, and had seen not only an escalation of crime but increasing unwillingness by the police to even confront the criminals. Their opposition to the Bridge Housing facility at the MTA yard stemmed from a belief that the project would attract yet more transients — and more crime — to their neighborhood.

Meanwhile, at Councilman Bonin’s booth, staffers handed out “Venice Says Yes!” flyers along with information packets touting the project.

The auditorium filled quickly once doors opened, and the crowd was loud and boisterous well before the event began, about half and hour late, chanting “Venice Says No!” and “Recall Bonin” and unfurling large banners (“Venice: Where Needles and Feces are Part of the Fun!”) along the walls. Forms for submitting questions were provided, and passed to the front of the room by the handful.

The event was moderated by Alex Cohen, the former host of NPR’s Morning Edition on KPCC. She began by imploring everyone to be civil in order to allow all of the questions to be answered, before introducing Mayor Garcetti and Councilman Bonin to a chorus of boos, and the LAPD Chief of Police, Michel Moore, to applause.

Mayor Garcetti began the meeting with a Powerpoint presentation, struggling to be heard over the crowd. According to his statistics, between 2010-2018 Los Angeles has housed roughly 32,000 homeless individuals, with the number of homeless (according to LAHSA’s count) rising during that period from 38,717 to 52,765. Garcetti framed the Bridge Housing development in stark, simple terms — either build it or “maintain the status quo”. Both Garcetti and Chief Moore explained that, because of legal challenges, the City cannot clean up encampments without first offering the occupants some type of shelter.

With Proposition H funds, the City has hired 1,000 outreach workers who are now in training, some of whom would be dispatched to Venice to persuade occupants of neighborhood encampments to take advantage of the facility. Bridge Housing will be staffed by all variety of social service workers, including mental health professionals, to determine the best way to move occupants off of the streets. Garcetti pointed out that the first Bridge Home Facility — El Pueblo, which opened a couple of months ago, near Olvera Street — has already transitioned 11 people, including one individual who only stayed for a couple of days. The proposed facility in Venice — 154 units on 3.1 acres — would be roughly three times as large. With an average stay of four months or so, within 3 years perhaps as many as 900 individuals could be moved off the streets.

Bonin then spoke, greeted by more boos and catcalls and constantly interrupted by the crowd, especially when he insisted that the homeless are no more inclined to commit crimes than anyone else. He showed a graphic of several homeless individuals and began to tell their tragic tales as if to imply that the crowd’s opposition to the project was simply due to a lack of sympathy and understanding — a tactic which resulted in loud cries for his recall. He defended the proposed location by pointing out that, of the 2000 homeless in all of CD11, about half are in Venice. Venice’s homeless population is also younger, whiter and more likely to be a victim of domestic violence. Both he and Mayor Garcetti insisted that Bridge Housing is “essential” to ultimately “solving” homelessness in Los Angeles. Finally, the MTA lot is “guaranteed” to be temporary, since the MTA is already in the planning stages to develop the property.

Chief Moore spoke last, and began to deliver a rambling speech about the LAPD frequently being called upon to “solve every problem in history” including “turning Okies away at the border”. Citing the city’s resilience after the Northridge Earthquake and 1992 Riots, he stated that we need to have confidence in our elected officials. Much to the chagrin of the crowd, he also stated that Venice receives less police attention because violent crime rates here are much lower than in other areas of the city.

Questions then commenced. To the question of requiring sobriety within the facility, Bonin stated that “housing first” without a sobriety requirement had been proven most effective, but also said that, if the community insisted, such a requirement could be instated. As to the question of what to do with service-resistant transients who already refuse temporary shelter beds, both he and the mayor explained that these facilities — which are pet-friendly, contain ample storage for belongings and allow couples and families to stay together — are a much more attractive option that existing emergency shelters. In addition, Chief Moore said that he could not arrest or otherwise move along street campers without first determining their unwillingness to take advantage of an existing option like Bridge Housing.

One questioner pointed out that both Carol Sobel and the Legal Aid Foundation have threatened lawsuits should the city proceed with its plan for increased clean ups in conjunction with Bridge Housing. Mayor Garcetti stated that prior lawsuits only occurred because the city “didn’t listen” and said that he would meet with these groups to determine how best to work with them.

Questioning continued until well after the announced 8pm end time for the event. Toward the end, someone asked if the project was a “done deal”, to which Bonin stated that it was not, because it still requires an EIR, permits and City approval. Outside of the exit door, homeless advocates organized by United Way lined up facing the departing crowd, silently holding up signs in support of the project along with lit candles.

Bridge Housing to Open at West LA VA Campus

By David Graham-Caso, Chief of Staff to Councilman Mike Bonin

Temporary bridge housing at the West Los Angeles VA campus will soon offer homeless veterans a safe and dignified place to reside while awaiting permanent housing, thanks to a groundbreaking partnership between the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The bridge housing facility, the first such facility to open on the Westside as part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “A Bridge Home” program, will provide transitional housing beds for up to 100 homeless veterans, including laundry facilities, personal hygiene centers, 24-hour security and supportive services. The county and the city will jointly pay for construction of the facility, and the Department of Veterans Affairs will offer on-site case management and supportive services.

The facility is scheduled to open in early 2019, and will provide housing for homeless veterans while the VA builds out its Draft Master Plan, which calls for 1200 units of permanent supportive housing there. The bridge housing site is internal to the VA campus, near existing buildings and services, and will not be visible from the exterior of the campus.

The temporary housing is the result of the collaborative effort of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Mayor Garcetti, County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, and Councilmember  Mike Bonin, who represents the neighborhoods around the VA campus.

“None of us should be able to sleep at night as long as a veteran is sleeping on a sidewalk or under a bridge,” Bonin said. “Veterans have suffered from generations of broken promises. Bridge housing at the VA represents positive changes being made. This partnership is a down payment on the housing and services the local VA is going to deliver.”

“I’m happy to be keeping our promise to the many veterans experiencing homelessness by taking this first step and building bridge housing on the VA campus in Brentwood,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “Thanks to Mayor Garcetti, Councilman Bonin and the VA for working with LA County to get this critical project off the ground. Last year, the Homeless Count showed that we had reduced veteran homelessness by 18 percent. One neighborhood at a time, one veteran at a time, we are working to ensure that every vet in the County has a place to call home.”

“Building 1,200 units of Permanent Supportive Housing through the Draft Master takes time and there are homeless Veterans who need services now. That’s why we are so excited about this partnership with the County and City of LA. It is our hope that this effort will demonstrate what can be done when we all come together looking for solutions. It will take all of us to end Veteran homelessness and Temporary Bridge Housing for our Veterans in need will bring us one step closer,” said Heidi Marston, Director of Community Engagement and Reintegration at the West Los Angeles VA.

The facility is an extension of Garcetti’s “A Bridge Home” proposal, which calls for a series of bridge housing sites in each of the city’s 15 council districts. The initiative is part of broad-based and comprehensive Garcetti effort to address the homelessness crisis. Garcetti, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, has focused strongly on housing homeless veterans.

“A Bridge Home is about getting homeless Angelenos off the streets as quickly as possible on their way to permanent housing — and I am grateful to all of my Council colleagues for stepping up to meet this challenge,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Councilmember Bonin, Supervisor Kuehl and our partners at Veterans Affairs are some of our strongest voices in the fight against homelessness, and I will work closely with them to help bring his proposal to life.”

The temporary housing is part of an urgent push by local VA officials who are committed to ending veteran homelessness. Through their efforts, the VA has moved forward with its Master Plan, opened a “Safe Parking” program for veterans living in their vehicles, and started providing permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans in existing buildings. Currently, 54 veterans are housed in Building 209. With financial support from the City of Los Angeles though HHH bond funds, Buildings 205 and Building 208 are also being converted into permanent supportive housing for veterans.

The VA bridge housing site will include two tension membrane structures along with modular trailers to provide space for sleeping, personal hygiene, and supportive services. The construction, expected to cost $5 million, will be managed by the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering. Bonin introduced legislation today to allocate the city funds and direct the department to begin work. Kuehl will introduce legislation to allocate the county funds next week.

Bonin said he was proud that residents of nearby neighborhoods have supported and championed housing and services for homeless veterans on the 400-acre campus.

“Residents of Brentwood and West LA believe strongly that we must keep our commitment to our veterans, and that land deeded specifically for veterans is the right place to do it,” Bonin said. “The time when neighbors objected to veterans living and thriving on veterans’ land is long past. Groups like the Brentwood Community Council and local homeowners associations are eager to be strong, supportive partners to these efforts, and I am inspired and honored by their partnership.”

The City of Los Angeles opened its first “Bridge Home” housing facility in downtown Los Angeles earlier this month, and recently approved a location in Hollywood. Bonin is proposing a second Westside location, in Venice, which has one of the largest unsheltered homeless populations in the city. Other councilmembers are proposing locations in San Pedro, Wilmington, Koreatown, Sherman Oaks, as well as additional locations throughout Los Angeles.

For more information about the Bridge Home initiative, please visit https://www.lamayor.org/ABridgeHome.

First Bridge Home — El Pueblo — to Open Monday

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(All photos are courtesy of the Office of the Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.)
Nestled between the freeway and on ramps, five trailers are set to provide Los Angeles with its first “Bridge Home” project. Three trailers will be for residents, one for services, and one for a combination laundry, restroom, and shower facility.

Los Angeles’s first “Bridge Home” will officially open Monday, 10 September, and provide a home for 45 homeless individuals until they secure permanent housing. Dignitaries gathered this week to showcase El Pueblo as the first of its kind.

Located near the El Pueblo Historical Monument, the housing located at 711 N. Alameda St. is the first of a series of projects planned for construction across Los Angeles to bring homeless people indoors. To date, dozens of sites across the city are being explored by the City Council.

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Bathroom, shower, laundry room.

Bathroom, shower, laundry room.

Bridge Home sites are intended to offer immediate beds, showers, mental health services, restrooms, storage facilities, and pet accommodations until permanent housing can be obtained. Supportive services will be part of the package at each site.

“We are here to help people in desperate need get themselves on a bridge that goes in one direction — toward housing and healing,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Angelenos have freed up more resources than ever before to help our homeless neighbors recover from the trauma and poverty that forces them onto the streets. Today, we have one message for the men and women who will soon move into this facility: Welcome home.”

Workers prepare tables and chairs for the common area under the awning where people will eat and gather.

Workers prepare tables and chairs for the common area under the awning where people will eat and gather.

This site will be occupied by people from existing, high-density encampments in the immediate surrounding area. New residents of the site were identified through unprecedented outreach efforts by specialized teams who walked the streets of the El Pueblo neighborhood every day for the previous three months in order to identify homeless Angelenos already living in the community, and prepare them to move indoors.

“In Council District 14, we have and will continue to work with our partners on creative solutions to end the despair of homelessness,” said Councilmember Jose Huizar, co-author of Measure HHH, and a leading voice on the City Council in addressing homelessness. “Given that we are blocks from Skid Row, the largest homeless encampment in the nation, it is fitting that the City’s first Bridge Home site be located in Downtown. Let hopelessness end here for these residents, and let’s open our City’s collective arms and share that hope with the thousands more who will follow.”

The site at El Pueblo is run by The People Concern, a social services agency that has operated in and around the Downtown LA area for more than 50 years. The facility is furnished with on-site mental healthcare, substance abuse support, connections to permanent housing, career services, and 24/7 security, and staffed by case managers from The People Concern at all times. It will stand for three years — enough time for the City to build permanent housing.

“A Bridge Home is the community working together to bring services to those who need it most and empower individuals to rebuild their lives,” said John Maceri, CEO of The People Concern.

After the new bridge housing opens its doors and the first 45 residents move in, City Sanitation teams will work to restore spaces previously occupied by encampments into clean and accessible public passageways.

The site was designed pro bono by M. Arthur Gensler Jr. & Associates, and includes a community garden, a pet relief area, offices for meetings with case managers, and an outdoor community space where meals will be served three times a day.

“As architects it was important for us, as part of the Downtown community, to step up and help make this crucial project become a reality,” said Rob Jernigan, Co-Regional Managing Principal at Gensler. “We’re all affected by homelessness and as Angelenos we are proud to play a small role in helping our fellow citizens battling this issue.”

In total, the Mayor’s budget includes more than $450 million in supportive housing, bridge housing, services, and facilities to help homeless Angelenos find their way under a roof and off the streets. That represents a 147% increase over last year.

The Mayor also fought for — and won — funding from the State’s budget surplus to help cities across California find, build, and expand housing for their homeless populations. Thanks to that effort, Los Angeles County alone will receive $166 million from the State to bring our unhoused neighbors indoors.

In April, Mayor Garcetti and the City Council declared an emergency shelter crisis and took advantage of a new State law that enables cities to construct bridge housing — faster than ever before — on any land owned or leased by the City.

In May, Mayor Garcetti signed an Executive Directive requiring City departments to fast-track temporary shelter projects from application to construction, allowing those that meet legal and environmental standards to open their doors in as little as 32 weeks. The City will guide these projects from start to finish.

With Mayor Garcetti’s support, Councilmember Huizar is pushing forward with a plan to identify other emergency locations in Downtown LA to house approximately 2,000 unsheltered Skid Row residents in City-owned buildings or available private properties — such as the old Children’s Museum located at the Civic Center near City Hall, and a private lot on Paloma Street, in partnership with LA County.

Court of Appeals Says Homeless Can Sleep on Public Property if Shelter Beds Not Available

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US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals territory says one may sleep on public property if there is no available shelter bed available.
 

The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals says homeless cannot be cited for sleeping on public property when there are no available shelter beds, 4 September. The court says it violates the US Constitution’s eighth amendment of cruel and unusual punishment being inflicted.

This further solidifies what Councilman Mike Bonin has stated in reference to the Jones Settlement. The Settlement states that after meeting the requirement of 1250 units of permanent supportive housing, the Jones Settlement would be removed. The number of units is so few compared with the number of homeless in Los Angeles, Councilman Bonin said the City would be back in court.

The court of appeals referred to availability of a bed for each homeless person. All the states within the ninth circuit are now in the same situation as Los Angeles.

Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan to “discourage” those homeless in encampments who refuse his Bridge Home plan may be questionable. The court doesn’t mention “refusing” to accept a bed  with a plan that leads to permanent housing … it just says a bed and implies one for each person.   City Attorney Mike Feuer says he feels refusing the plan with a bed, is like refusing a bed.

See LA Times story.

Venice Gets No. 4 Scrambled Crosswalk in Los Angeles — Washington and Pacific Blvd

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(Photo courtesy of David Graham-Caso, Chief of Staff to Councilman Bonin.)

(29 Aug 2018)Councilman Mike Bonin, LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds, and Glabe Hartley, Cow’s End owner walk abreast with other dignitaries behind to celebrate the Venice Scrambled Crosswalk opening early Tuesday morning.

Other people had tried it and loved it as cars that had normally been allowed to make a right on a red light honked.

Bikes and Scooters are considered vehicles in California; therefore, they can cross when pedestrians cross only if they walk their bikes or scooters. If they ride, they must go with the cars.

This is one of the most used and confusing intersections in Venice. Not all corners allowed pedestrians, and there were right turns that could turn into walkers. Also there is a bike path in the middle of Washington Blvd, going west,  with cars turning right and cars going forward. All that was confusing is eliminated in the “scramble.” Now it is all stop and cross.  Bikes in the middle can walk their bikes or wait for the light. Getting to the light for bikers is still done carefully.

Several groups engaged the councilman in conversation regarding the MTA lot for a “bridge housing” site. Part of the conversation was recorded but everyone was talking and questions and answers are not distinct.  Just a bad recording.

By 10:30 Mayor and Councilman Were a “No-Show” for Door-to-Door MTA Canvassing; Training for Door-to-Door was Given

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People came, they chatted with one another, they waived their signs. The groups for and against were probably equally divided but the group against had more signs. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Mike Bonin were to arrive at 9:30.

People started lining up at 9 am. Registrations started at 9:30 and people went for training. One was not allowed in training room unless he had a name tag, which meant he had registered. Training rooms were set up in three places … one the theatre, one the gift shop and one upstairs. No one seemed to know what happened in the training rooms.

The Mayor and Councilman Bonin were to arrive at 9:30. Time passed. People were sent to the patio for reception of Mayor and Councilman. Scuttlebutt was “they were on their way … they were a no-show.”

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Judy Goldman handed out a sheet of questions Questions to be Asked by a Few Citizens  that several Venetians had worked to assemble. The group for the Bridge Housing passed out two pages of LA CAN Statement on Garcetti’s 49M Emergency Shelter Plan.   Page 2 of LA CAN Statement on Garcetti’s 49M Emergency Shelter Plan.

The only official document regarding Bridge Housing is the draft Los Angeles Homeless Services Agency (LAHSA) has provided of the Scope of the Required Service (SRS) that must be provided homeless participants of Bridge Housing.

There were a few people from out of the area. One was from San Pedro. She was asked why she was attending but got no response. One lady who had a scarf around her head questioned why one participant was wearing the jewelry she was wearing.

Even the homeless attended. David Busch was there to explain to those who would listen how he wanted to house the homeless. Jeremy Minney who has been in Venice for a while had other ideas.

The general talk was that people had questions and there were no available answers. Also Venetians did not like the idea of the Bridge Housing being put in Venice; there are other cities in CD11. Venice has enough homeless and has provided enough. “Time to share,” one said.

Neither the Mayor nor the Councilman had arrived by 10:45. People started to go home.

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