web analytics

Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Dennison Takes Issue With Wrede Article; Wrede and Venice Update Answer Dennison

Becky Dennison, director of Venice Community Housing, takes issue with the article Christian Wrede wrote for Venice Update recently, and accuses Venice Update of not checking the facts and printing misinformation.   Both Christian Wrede and the Venice Update have answered Becky Dennison.  Perhaps, all will benefit from the questions and the answers.

Note that opinion pieces are printed in the Update frequently, and they are usually by lined and explain that person’s  view.    Perhaps, we need more people expressing their views regarding the projects proposed for the Venice Median and the Thatcher Yard.

By Christian Wrede

Yesterday, the Executive Director of Venice Community Housing
Corporation (“VCHC”) – which is poised to become the largest developer
in Venice since Abbot Kinney – posted an article on Venice Update
asserting that there were “glaring factual errors” in my recent piece
stating that the “law doesn’t allow” for the use of public funds to
build affordable housing that is reserved exclusively for artists.

VCHC correctly points out that Section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code
was revised in 2008 (under pressure from real estate developers) to
create a so-called “artist preference,” allowing (to use VCHC’s words)
for “preferential treatment of several groups of people, including
artists” in affordable housing financed by federal tax credits.

Such tax credits, however, have to be combined with other sources of public or private funding. In Los Angeles, the primary source of municipal funding for affordable housing projects is the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (“AHTF”), which is administered by the Housing and Community Investment Department of LosAngeles (“HCIDLA”) (see City of Los Angeles Affordable Housing Trust Fund Pipeline Regulations, Policies and Procedures, August 1, 2016), whose “Fair Housing Policy” (http://hcidla.lacity.org/fair-housing-policy-regard-disability) expressly states that “applicants for any and all units shall be considered for occupancy without prejudice in regard to race, color, religion, sex … [or] source of income,” even while expressly recognizing that protection based on “source of income” is not provided by federal law.

Thus, the City Council Motion at issue in my article, in which Councilman Huizar – and our very own Councilman Bonin – call on HCIDLA (which currently prohibits preferences based on “source of income”) to work with the City Attorney “to report back on the feasibility of an artists’ affordable housing program, and the steps and department needs required to establish such a program.” No such program currently exists.

VCHC has already admitted that the Venice Median Project will be a financial Frankenstein with more sources of funding than you can shake a stick at – Section 8, Prop HHH, private investors and so on – so it may be that they have found a way to skirt the HCIDLA “Fair Housing Policy,” but that leaves valid questions about the changes Bonin and others are making to city law in the fields of housing and development and the effect that those changes will have on small and vulnerable communities like Venice.

By Venice Update

“There are some glaring factual errors in this week’s article in Update about Venice Community Housing (VCH), ” wrote Dennison.     “I understand there is disagreement about our work and planned expansion of affordable housing in Venice, but I would hope that some basic fact-checking would be done before publishing misinformation about us and our plans.

1. ” The article published on Monday claims that the low-income artist housing that VCH is proposing at Venice-Dell-Pacific (Venice Update refers to this as the Venice Median)  “is not allowed under the law.'”  “This is not true.   No City law or program needs to be created or changed for us to move forward with our plans.   The federal tax credit program, located in Section 42 of the federal tax code and the main source of funding for affordable housing, currently allows preferential treatment for several groups of people, including artists.   H.R. 3221 specifically created the artist preference in 2008.   Therefore, there are affordable artist communities similar to the proposal at Venice-Dell-Pacific already operating in Los Angeles and other Southern California cities.   There is no “VCHC scam”.   Beyond being allowed by law, VCH heard from many community residents that they’d like to see low-income artists included and prioritized for housing at Venice-Dell-Pacific and we are looking forward to doing so.   Please see examples of other low-income artist communities here:      http://www.wavartists.com/ and https://www.bisnow.com/los-angeles/news/affordable-housing/housing-for-las-starving-artists-opens-in-san-pedro-45561.”

Answer:  Question from Venice Update.  Then why did Councilmen Jose Huizar and Mike Bonin create a motion coming before the City Council to allow artists to reside in low-cost affordable housing.  If the law is already there, isn’t the effort by Huizar and Bonin redundant?   Why?

2)  “The same article claimed that the City’s proposed Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Ordinance will “exempt Bonin’s housing projects from zoning restrictions, size and density limitations, environmental review and community input,”  wrote Dennison.  “Again, this simply isn’t true.   The implication in the article is that “Bonin’s housing projects” are the communities being proposed on city-owned land, including Venice-Dell-Pacific.   Venice-Dell-Pacific is not covered by the proposed ordinance due to its current zoning.   Therefore, none of the PSH Ordinance’s possible streamlining processes apply to the site or VCH’s project.   The Venice-Dell-Pacific development process includes a full Environmental Impact Report, the highest level of environmental review, and will follow all regular public approval process with the City and Coastal Commission.”

Answer:  Zoning restrictions, size and density have changed as a result of the PSH Ordinance.   There  is no parking  requirement for PSH (It is possible there is a PSH zoning of no car requirement in existence now.) and the ordinance says that one has to provide at least 50 percent PSH for a project.   These are just two differences.   The properties in question are now zoned Open Space for Venice Median and for the Thatcher Yard, Public Facility.  The Venice Median will be rezoned to a zoning similar to R-3 that allows for commercial also.  I believe it is RS-3.  Property will be rezoned to fit the project.

Thatcher Yard.  The PSH ordinance changes completely the rezoning restrictions for any PF property.  Prior to PSH ordinance approval, PF zoned property would be rezoned in accordance with LAMC 12.04.09.B.9 which states:  “Any joint public and private development uses permitted in the most restrictive adjoining zones if approved by the Director utilizing the procedures described in Section 16.05E to H. The phrase “adjoining zones” refers to the zones on properties abutting, across the street or alley from or having a common corner with the subject property. If there are two or more different adjoining zones, then only the uses permitted by the most restrictive zone shall be permitted.”  In this case for the Thatcher Yard, two of the sides are zoned R-1 (most restrictive) and the other side is C4-OX.  

The PSH ordinance comes along and says completely the opposite by stating:

If the joint public and private development is a Qualified Permanent Supportive Housing Project developed pursuant to Section 14.00 A.11 of this Code, the uses and standards permitted by the least restrictive zone within a 1,320 foot radius shall be permitted utilizing the procedures described therein.  The “least” restrictive would be C4-OX, which is 19 stories.

David Graham-Caso, Bonin’s Chief of Staff,  stated in an email to the Venice Update last week  that the PSH ordinance would have no bearing on the PF zoning or development of the Thatcher Yard, even if approved.  Yet, the developers during site inspection, made the statements regarding the site of upward of 3 stories, 150 units, 50 percent PSH–all qualifiers for the PSH ordinance.  There are two contracts to be considered  — the “get together with the community” and then the development contract.  Will both exclude the PSH ordinance?  Graham-Caso says yes.

Thatcher yard, if rezoned in accordance with existing LA municipal codes, would be rezoned R-1 and based on a 5000-sq foot lot, would have approximately 18 houses.

If rezoned to RD-1.5 as the RFQ/P stated and Councilman Mike Bonin stated in the Town Hall, the property would yield 62 units and two 35 percent bonuses of 21.7 each, which would be 62 to 104 or 106.   That is approximately one third the size of the total R-1 Oxford Triangle population.

If rezoned to C4-OX, it is one of the City’s densest.

Note:  Yes, Becky Dennison is concerned about the accuracy of her project and rightly so.  Venetians see the big picture of three large projects in Venice –the Thatcher Yard, the Venice Median, the MTA lot.  These are community changing plans .  The Venice Specific Plan, if followed, doesn’t allow more than two lots being combined. The Venice Median is combining many lots.  The Thatcher Yard will be rezoned what?  One of three options.

 

Councilman Bonin Asks Constituents to Reject the Recall

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 8.29.01 AM

To All,

It feels like just yesterday that our broad coalition of neighborhoods campaigned hard, won a huge reelection victory, and renewed our commitment to move Los Angeles forward, do good, and get things done. But — believe it or not — there is a group of people who refuse to respect the will of the voters, and are now trying to engineer a costly and wasteful special recall election to remove me from office.

We need to gear up and fight this. Can I count on your endorsement of our effort to push back and Reject the Recall?

Earlier this year, hundreds of us spent months knocking on doors, talking with voters, and winning a 71% mandate in March for a positive agenda for our city and for our neighborhoods. But last month, a group of five proponents — led by the very challengers we defeated earlier this year — took the first steps to try to overturn that election and remove me as your representative. It is an insult to the voters, an abuse of the electoral process, and a tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars.

When I ran for office, I promised you that we would accomplish a lot together, that I would be accessible and always listen, and that I would be unafraid to lead. I have taken on some of our toughest issues — such as homelessness and a horrible epidemic of traffic fatalities in our neighborhoods — and I have proposed bold and sometimes controversial solutions. Sometimes I’ll get it right, and sometimes I’ll get it wrong and correct course — but I will never be reluctant to tackle our most serious and intractable problems.

But if I am going to continue to do that, I’ll need your help. Can you join me and our friends in Rejecting the Recall?

The people behind this recall are well-funded and they have their own agendas. They care more about those agendas than about the great things we have accomplished together: building mass transit, creating and preserving open space, adding LAFD resources to Westside neighborhoods, deploying more cops for neighborhood policing, modernizing LAX without expanding into nearby neighborhoods, fighting for more affordable housing, charting a course to renewable energy, or raising the minimum wage. They don’t care as much about all the streets we’ve paved, the trash we’ve picked up, the parks we’ve all the streets we’ve paved, the trash we’ve picked up, the parks we’ve cleand, and the people we’ve helped.

But I know you care about those things.  And I know you care about all the things we still need to do together.  Please stand with me and Reject the Recall.  Thank you so much for your partnership and your support.

Warm Regards,

MIKE

 

 

 

 

Huizar Blocks Housing Project in Boyle Heights & Partners with Bonin to Concentrate Development in Venice

By Christian Wrede

As reported in this article from the New York Times, Councilman Huizar blocked a modest Prop HHH housing project in a commercial district in Boyle Heights last month on the grounds that “the nonprofit group promoting th[e] project was trying to muscle through a plan over well-grounded neighborhood concerns.”

“You cannot force a project onto a community at all costs,” Mr. Huizar complained. “A majority of people who live around the project were opposed to it. The people who are in favor of it live someplace else.”

Now, Huizar (who was one of the leading proponents of Prop HHH) is bringing a City Council Motion  – seconded by none other than Mike Bonin — calling on the Housing and Community Investment Department and the City Attorney “to report back on the feasibility of an artists’ affordable housing program” and the “steps required … to establish such a program.”

motion

Why?

Why would Huizar take such an interest in affordable housing for artists so soon after spiking a puny affordable housing development — between a supermarket, a Pizza Hut and a cemetery — in his own district?

Because Venice Community Housing Corporation wants to use the promise of “artist housing” (34 units in all) as a selling point for the massive Venice Median Project (2.8 acres, 150 units, 2 parking structures and 10,500 sq. ft. of “social enterprise” space) at the gateway to Venice Beach.

The one problem with the VCHC scam? The law doesn’t allow it.

RecallBonin Campaign Co-Chair Offers $10K to Put in Lights at Crosswalk Where Shear Was Killed

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 11.45.58 AM

 

Alexis Edelstein, co-chair of the RecallBonin campaign, stood at corner of Pacific and Sunset where Damon Shear  had been killed exactly one week before and provided with supporters a one-minute period of silence.

He offered a $10,000 check from RecallBonin campaign to LADOT to put in a blinking traffic light that had been authorized since July 2014 in honor of Shear.  Supposedly, funds were provided but the claim is that monies were tied up in red tape.

Edelstein also questioned the fact that Snapchat, whom Edelstein says contributed to the Bonin reelection fund,  got a proper crosswalk down the street. Edelstein said he was asking State Attorney General Xavier Becerra to investigate the two crosswalks.

Edelstein said he had evidence that LADOT recommended TCR – Pacific Av and Sunset Av – RRFB (1) putting a Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon at the intersection where Shear died and that the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Federal Highway Administration and Caltrans approved funding for it. 

 

 

 

 

Playa del Rey “Safe Streets” Program to be Scratched; Streets to be Restored

safestreets_edited-1
All lanes are to be restored.

culver2
Cars were backed up on Culver Blvd, backing up cars on Alla Road, under the 90 freeway on week nights.

PLAYA DEL REY, CA — Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Councilmember Mike Bonin today announced a plan to restore traffic lanes on several roads in Playa del Rey, and deliver a series of new safety features to help protect the lives of motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Lane restoration work is scheduled to begin with Culver and Jefferson Boulevards on October 27 and  with work on Pershing beginning in November. A remaining stretch of Vista Del Mar, from Waterview to Culver Boulevard, will remain narrowed until after the Bureau of Engineering completes work in the area on the Dual Force Main project — a long-planned, multi-million dollar project to prevent an environmentally devastating sewage leak into the Santa Monica Bay.  Work on Dual Force is scheduled for two years.

This is a great feather in the cap for the “Recall Bonin” campaign.  They celebrated Wednesday night at the Venice Grind.  Alexis Edelstein and Alix Cucovsky, cochair of the RecallBonin.Com campaign have stated several times that the campaign will continue until all streets are restored on the Westside and the street restructuring envisioned for other streets by Vision Zero and Mobility 2035 are stopped. 

 

The move came at the request of Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Bonin, who asked the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) to immediately begin restoring lanes that had been removed on Culver Boulevard, Jefferson Boulevard and Pershing Drive — and to install new, strong traffic safety measures to be completed over the next several months.

“This pilot program has shown us that lane reductions are not the right approach in Playa del Rey, but we can and will find a way to ease congestion and improve traffic safety in this neighborhood,” said Mayor Garcetti. “We have the will and know-how to find smart, balanced, effective, and flexible solutions — and I’m confident that the new safety measures we are putting in place will help us accomplish those goals.”

The new safety measures include new crosswalks with flashing beacons to better protect pedestrians; “speed tables” that prompt vehicles to reduce speed at intersections; speed feedback signs that notify drivers when they have exceeded posted limits; “pedestrian head start” signals that allow people on foot to enter crosswalks at intersections before vehicles are allowed to make turns; and traffic signals that will be adjusted to require drivers to slow down as they approach downtown Playa del Rey from Culver Boulevard.

“From the beginning of the Safe Streets for Playa del Rey initiative, community feedback has been a crucial component in creating a safe and inviting community,” said Councilmember Bonin. “Reducing the frequency and severity of traffic collisions is one of the top public safety imperatives for the City of Los Angeles, and the community-supported safety improvements we are announcing today will help keep people in Playa del Rey safe. I am grateful that Mayor Garcetti and I were able to work with LADOT, neighbors and local businesses to find a way to implement safety measures that can keep people safe without disrupting traffic patterns.”

The full list of new safety features includes:

•Speed Feedback Signs – LADOT will place speed feedback signs on Culver Boulevard and Pershing Drive, notifying drivers when they have exceeded the speed limit.

•Flashing Beacon Crosswalks – LADOT will add flashing beacons to the crosswalk at Culver Boulevard and Pershing Drive to better protect pedestrians as they cross the street.

•New Crosswalks – LADOT will install new flashing beacon crosswalks at Culver Boulevard and Earldom Avenue and at Pershing Drive and Rees.

•Speed Tables – LADOT will install speed tables at crosswalks to slow speeding traffic and protect pedestrians.

•“Rest in Red” Signals – The traffic signal at Culver and Nicholson and Culver and Vista Del Mar will be adjusted to require drivers to slow their speed as they approach downtown Playa del Rey from Culver Boulevard. “Rest in red” settings will also be applied to signals at Pershing and Manitoba, Pershing and Westchester Parkway, Culver and Vista Del Mar and Culver and Nicholson.

•Leading Pedestrian Intervals – Commonly referred to as “pedestrian head start” signals, crossing signals will be adjusted to allow pedestrians to enter crosswalks at intersections before vehicles are allowed to make their turns. This will occur at Pershing and Manchester, Pershing and Manitoba, and Pershing and Westchester Parkway.

The Mayor and Councilmember will work together to identify funding to expedite installation of new pedestrian-activated signals at intersections that include Culver and Earldom, Culver and Pershing, and Pershing and Rees. Mayor Garcetti said he would direct the LAPD to step up speed enforcement in the area, and City officials will work with state officials to explore ways to lower automobile speed through the Ballona Wetlands.

Prior to today’s announcement, LADOT had already restored lanes on Vista Del Mar and Culver Boulevard. Today’s action will restore lanes on Culver, Jefferson and Pershing, and expedite implementation of the new safety features — which were the subject of close talks between City officials and local residents, business owners, and members of the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa Neighborhood Council and the Playa del Rey Safer Streets Task Force.

The announcement won praise and expressions of gratitude from local stakeholders:

“These safety measures will make Playa del Rey a safer community for the people who live here, work, and enjoy our community,” said Cyndi Hench, President of the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa. “Our community is eager to move forward and I appreciate the work of Mayor Garcetti, Councilmember Bonin and the neighbors who have been passionately engaged on this topic. I think this is a great resolution to a complicated issue.”

Hench’s appreciation for the announcement was echoed by local businesses, including by Lisa Schwab, the owner of Cantalini’s Salerno Beach Restaurant.

“These safety measures strike the right balance between improving safety and keeping traffic moving,” said Schwab. “This has been a contentious topic of debate in our community and it shows a lot of leadership and commitment to the people they represent for Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Bonin to do they work they have done to make this announcement possible. As a business owner in Playa del Rey, I am happy with the lane restoration and safety improvements and I thank the Mayor and Councilmember for being willing to listen and adapt the pilot project based on the input they heard.”

“The LAX Area Chamber of Commerce fully supports the added safety measures and lane restoration,” added David Voss, Board Member with the LAX Area Chamber. “Reducing traffic congestion and keeping people safe are both important goals for the local businesses we represent and we are very fortunate to have responsive and collaborative local elected leaders like Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Bonin.”

The announcement also received praise from some of the neighbors who have been advocating for safer streets in Playa del Rey.

“I got involved with this issue a couple years ago because I wanted to feel safe walking around my neighborhood in Playa del Rey,” said Ryan Wewers, a Playa del Rey resident who has been a vocal supporter of the Safe Streets for Playa del Rey Initiative. “Back then, I couldn’t have even imagined the number of safety improvements Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember announced today. This goes a long way to make our streets safer for everyone.”

“While I’m disappointed that the first phase of this three phase pilot project was unable to move forward, I’m very pleased to see that the second and third phases of these long-overdue safety measures that the community asked for as part of the Safer Streets for Playa del Rey Initiative in 2015 will finally be implemented thanks to this action by Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Bonin,” added Playa del Rey neighborhood leader and safety advocate, Julie Ross.

Additionally, Bonin and Garcetti said they planned to work with the Playa del Rey small business community to create programs and projects to enhance the downtown area. Those measures include additional parking, wider sidewalks, art work, lighting and more.

 

 

Local Architect Urges Defeat of PSH Ordinance and Explains Why; Comment Time Over 31 Oct

size
The white structure under the tree is a two-story house with a covered deck.  The 19-story building is the Waterside condominium, a C4-OX zoned project.

Dan Whalen, local architect, says new PSH ordinance is written specifically to put high-rise (C4-0x) zoning project next to single-family residences at Thatcher Yard.

Previously, the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC), in order to protect surrounding properties to a PF (public facility) zoned property, stated that the PF zoned property, when rezoned, would comply with the “‘most restrictive” zoning of the prevailing surrounding properties, which would be R-1.

The new PSH ordinance says  new zoning will comply with the “least restrictive” meaning the highest zoning in the area within 1320 feet.That would be C4-OX, which has an adjoining building 19 stories. Venice doesn’t get higher than that.

Dan Whalen urges all Venetians to write letters to defeat this proposed PSH ordinance.

By Dan Whalen

Background
The City has entered into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with Thomas Safran and Associates to develop the former Thatcher Maintenance Yard into a high-density multi- family Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) project.

The Thatcher Maintenance Yard site is currently zoned “Public Facility” (PF) and would need to be re-zoned prior to any PSH development. To ensure that the future use of a PF-zoned lot is compatible with adjoining properties, the Los Angeles City Municipal Code (LAMC) includes mandates to protect adjoining lower-density properties whenever PF- zoned sites are redeveloped.

The Municipal Code states that only those uses allowed by the most restrictive adjoining zones shall be permitted. Therefore, because the Thatcher Yard site is bordered on three sides by R1-1 single-family residences, any zoning other than R1-1 is not allowed under the current Municipal Code.

New PSH Ordinance
To bypass this long-standing code requirement, Councilman Bonin is supporting a new City Ordinance. This new Ordinance would eliminate the Municipal Code protections for adjoining properties if the PF-zoned property is specifically redeveloped as a PSH project (such as the one proposed for Thatcher Yard). In this case, instead of being limited by the most restrictive adjoining zoning, PSH projects on PF-zoned lots could be re-zoned with the least restrictive zoning within a quarter mile radius.

For the Thatcher Yard, that would mean the allowable new zoning would be the same as for the three high-rise residential towers located at the south end of the Oxford Triangle. This new zoning would be C4-OX-2D, one of the densest allowed for any residential project.

Of all the proposed PSH sites within the City, the Thatcher Yard is the only one located on a PF-zoned site with adjoining single-family homes. The new Ordinance appears to be specifically written for the Thatcher Yard project alone.

In addition to the zoning change for PSH projects, the new Ordinance would also allow 35% increases in the allowable height, 35% increases in the allowable floor area, and decreases in both the minimum required setbacks and minimum amount of open space.

At least one-half of all PSH units will be reserved for the formerly homeless. The new Ordinance does not require any parking for these units. The Ordinance allows additional parking reductions for the remaining PSH units, as well as reductions in the required guest parking.

Impact of New Ordinance
This Ordinance attempts to override the Coastal Act, the certified Venice Land Use Plan and the Oxford Triangle Specific Plan.

The Ordinance allows for high-density zoning that will overwhelm adjoining single-family homes and our residential streets. The allowable increases in the mass, scale and character of the new PSH projects will negatively impact all adjoining single-family homes.

The new Ordinance eases parking requirements and will force at least half the PSH residents to park on adjacent residential streets. With the existing parking shortage in Venice, this Ordinance would only make a bad situation much worse.

The decisions made today for new PSH projects will be contractually fixed for the next
55 years. If the new Ordinance is allowed to pass, it will have a profound and long-lasting negative impact on our neighborhood and a very small positive impact on the homeless crisis.

Call to Action
Councilman Bonin assured our neighborhood that the “planning process would be followed”. Let’s make sure he honors that commitment and is not allowed to remove essential Municipal Code protections.

Changes to the Municipal Code should not be taken lightly, and certainly not because of single project. I urge you to tell Councilman Bonin, Mayor Garcetti, the Planning Department, other City Council members, your Venice Neighborhood Council, and the California Coastal Commission that this Ordinance is short-sighted and not in the best interests of our community.

The proposed PSH Ordinance is seriously flawed and needs to be defeated in its current form. However, the City is on the fast-track to get it approved. The public comment period ends on October 31 with a City Council vote for approval in November.

LA City Planning PSH Ordinance Point of Contact
cally.hardy@lacity.org

LA City Officials:
mayor.garcetti@lacity.org
councilmember.cedillo@lacity.org
councilmember.krekorian@lacity.org
councilmember.blumenfield@lacity.org
david.ryu@lacity.org paul.koretz@lacity.org
councilmember.martinez@lacity.org
councilmember.harris-dawson@lacity.org
councilmember.price@lacity.org
councilmember.wesson@lacity.org
councilmember.englander@lacity.org
councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org
councilmember.huizar@lacity.org
councilmember.buscaino@lacity.org
councilmember.Rodriguez@lacity.org
vince.bertoni@lacity.org
tricia.keane@lacity.org
ezra.gale@lacity.org
debbie.dynerharris@lacity.org

Venice Neighborhood Council
president@venicenc.org

California Coastal Commission Official:
Chuck.Posner@coastal.ca.gov

Campaign to Recall Westside Councilmember Raises Over $70K

recall.

By Recall Bonin Campaign

PLAYA DEL REY, CA – On the heels of westside councilmember Mike Bonin’s announcement that he’s flip flopping on his support of “road diets” and restoring traffic lanes on Jefferson and Culver Boulevards in Playa del Rey, the campaign to recall Bonin has announced that supporters have made over $72,000 in donations to remove him from office and are moving ahead with the recall.

“The donations keep coming in,” said Alix Gucovsky, co-chair of the Recall Bonin campaign. “We’re at $72,000 already. The Recall Bonin campaign is truly a grassroots effort and one that speaks for the vast majority of the district. This is evidenced by our internal poll that has 69% of registered voters weighing in against the lane diets and road reconfigurations.”

During the last week in July, Recall Bonin conducted a poll via text to 2,000 registered Democratic voters in the 11th District. Of those aware of the “road diets,” 69% were against them, while only 31% percent were in favor of the road reconfigurations.

With over 300 volunteers and mounting public pressure, Recall Bonin officially launched their campaign last month in response to Bonin’s implementation of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative which removed one lane of traffic on Venice Boulevard between Beethoven Street and Inglewood Boulevard in favor of bike lanes and parking. Other streets affected by “road diets” were Vista del Mar, Culver Blvd., Jefferson Blvd. and Pershing Blvd.

mobile

“We’ve already started placing our ‘Recall Bonin Mobile’–a refurbished ice cream truck–in strategic high traffic areas to increase awareness of the recall,” continued Alix Gucovsky. “We’ve been amazed by the positive reactions we’ve received from drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists when driving around the district. People–even some law enforcement officials–have been taking selfies with the ‘Recall Bonin Mobile!’ The word is spreading and the support is growing every day with our campaign.”

Removing a lane has created bottleneck traffic during rush hour, making commutes longer and forcing drivers to make unsafe moves, like cutting across bike lanes to make right turns. Residents and business owners say that the changes to Venice Boulevard created extra gridlock making it impossible for ambulances to pass through during emergencies and that they felt tricked and unsafe on the city’s evacuation route for a natural disaster like an earthquake.

Recall Bonin supporters say that the changes to the streets occurred without prior knowledge and consent of residents, business owners, neighborhood councils or surrounding city governments and were billed under the auspices of Vision Zero and Mobility Plan 2035–L.A.’s effort to eliminate traffic fatalities and shift drivers to other transportation options by adding hundreds of miles of bicycle and bus-only lanes.

“These transportation related schemes that Bonin is creating and supporting are having a severe negative impact on the everyday quality of life for the constituents of council district 11 and beyond,” said Robin Rudisill, former Chair of the Venice Land Use & Planning Committee and former Venice Neighborhood Council Board Member. “Bonin thinks he knows what’s best for us, but he barely speaks to the citizens before he does these things. His outreach is pitiful. Why? Because he knows the majority would of course be against ideas such as reducing lanes of traffic on major thoroughfares. It appears he doesn’t want to really know how we feel.”

“I’ve endorsed the recall of Mike Bonin for the same reason that I ran against him in the last election–Bonin does not listen to residents,” added Mark Ryavec, President of the Venice Stakeholders Association and former Chief Deputy Assessor for the County of Los Angeles. “He puts his own personal agenda above that of the people who elected him as evidenced by his support for several traffic stopping mega developments in council district 11 including the the Martin Cadillac project and expansion of the Archer School. Bonin has sold his vote to developers, special interests and lobbyists.”

One thing we can thank Bonin for is having been the catalyst that has brought this entire district together,” said Alexis Edelstein, co-chair of the Recall Bonin campaign. “We have received support from left, right and center; rich and poor; Republican, Democrat and Independent. Two things have been consistent: the hatred of traffic caused by Bonin’s bad ideas and a disdain for Bonin as a Councilman. It seems that his M.O. is to ignore the community, speak out of both sides of his mouth, and try and smear those opposed to him. He is out of touch with the entire district and consistently fails to appear, answer questions or routinely says that he wasn’t aware.”

The 11th District includes the communities of Brentwood, Del Rey, Mar Vista, Pacific Palisades, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Venice and West Los Angeles.

The campaign to recall Mike Bonin has raised over $72,000 of its $200,000 goal and will commence signature gathering in November. The campaign needs approximately 27,000 valid signatures of registered voters in L.A.’s 11th District to trigger an election, but plans on collecting 50,000.

More info at www.RecallBonin.com.

Speed Hump Program Restored

 

The City’s Speed Hump program is open.  The City eliminated the speed hump program because of lack of money in 2009.

“One of my priorities as chair of the Transportation Committee has been to restore the speed hump program that the city eliminated in 2009,” according to Councilman Mike Bonin.  “We did that this year, and while the program needs to be made much more robust, I am pleased to report that the City’s 2018 Speed Hump application cycle is open! 

“The link below will remain open until the maximum number of requests that can be processed this year are received. After nearly a decade of no speed hump program, there is enormous pent-up demand. Please get your application in ASAP since this will be the only opportunity for construction in 2018.”

http://ladot.lacity.org/how-do-i/request-speed-humps

 

SurveyLA Motion and Audience Comments Dominated VNC Meet

Note: What was to be a survey of historic structures in Los Angeles has apparently turned into an obstacle for those wanting to upgrade their properties, refinance, or sell in Venice. The information has not gone thru Los Angeles Planning, yet effects projects in Venice as though it had. Taylor Bazley said last night that Councilman Mike Bonin has tried unsuccessfully so far to disassociate the Survey from normal Planning procedures.

By Angela McGregor

Between 2010-2015, SurveyLA, part of the Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources, conducted a survey of properties in Venice to determine which of them were “significant” in accordance with criteria established for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and California Register of Historical Resources. Surveyors photographed properties they deemed “historic” and these properties were then gathered into a report.

According to SurveyLA’s own website, these “contributor” properties “are not designated resources; designation is a separate process that requires public hearings and property owner notification.” Nevertheless, Survey LA’s findings have been used as the basis to require an additional, expensive, layer of permitting and research during the development and renovation process of older homes.

In January of 2016, LUPC recommended a motion in response to complaints from Venice homeowners “complaining of an arduous, lengthy, and unpredictable approval process for properties labeled as “contributing structures” or even just located within “proposed historic districts” (see: http://savevenice.me/site/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/lupc-impact-surveyla.pdf). In October of last year, LUPC conducted a community outreach meeting for homeowners impacted by the report, hosted by Ken Bernstein, head of the Dept. of City Planning’s Office of Historic Resources. At that time, Bernstein told the VNC to wait on taking action until Councilman Bonin’s office introduced its own motion. After 9 months, no motion has been forthcoming.

Tuesday’s Venice Neighborhood Council meeting played to a packed house full of stakeholders wishing to weigh in on the Board’s motion to demand that the City of L.A. adopt a policy that, contrary to current usage, would, in terms of its impact on development and renovation of existing properties:

1. State that SurveyLA’s results do not constitute substantial evidence of “potential significant impact to historic resources”.

2. Use SurveyLA’s results only as a planning tool when used to update community plans, not on an individual, case-by-case basis.

3. Place the burden of proof on the City to provide evidence of significant impact on historic resources.

4. Stop requiring SurveyLA clearances on permits unless the City proves that “substantial evidence” exists above and beyond that given by the SurveyLA report.

Public comment on the matter was heavily in favor of this motion. Homeowner after homeowner rose to speak about the hardships they had encountered in attempting to renovate their properties. Many questioned the legality of SurveyLA’s newfound control over their property rights, which had not been previously noticed.

Mr. Bernstein (or any other representative of SurveyLA) was invited to attend and present an argument of their position to the Community and the Board, but according to VNC Board member Ilana Marosi, Mr. Bernstein couldn’t make it “on only six days notice”. She then introduce a motion to delay the matter until the city’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee put forth their own motion, but this motion failed for lack of a second.

The Board voted in favor of the motion, 12-0-1.

Recall Bonin Gets Launched at “Great Streets”

Alexis Edelstein, Demetrius, and Alix  Gucovsky

Alexis Edelstein, Demetrius, and Alix Gucovsky


Alexis Edelstein and Alix Gucovsky kicked off their “Recall Bonin” campaign at The Venice Grind Thursday to a relatively small, but enthusiastic crowd.

Edelstein announced that they had collected $40,000 of the $200,000 they felt was necessary to get 27,000 acceptable signatures to effect the recall.

The goal is to get 50,000 signatures. “Signatures can be disqualified for many reasons,” Edelstein said, so they want more than enough. Their website for donations is www.recallbonin.com.

Edelstein said signatures would be taken in a 120-day window starting November. Right now they are trying to raise money.

The procedure, after getting the signatures, is to submit them to the City Clerk for authenticity and then the Clerk will submit them to the City Council. The City Council will then call for a special election. Election could be held any Tuesday between July and September.

Both claimed the “road diet fiasco” is what motivated them to launch this campaign and addressed the present road diets — Venice Blvd and the Playa del Rey.

“We’ve tried reaching out to Bonin multiple times but since he just got reelected and is termed out (can’t run again)and he has a 5-1/2 year term, he doesn’t seem to care what we think,” Edelstein said.

“He tried to divide the community. At some time, we are all drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists but Bonin never consulted any of us about this… there was never any engagement,” Gucovsky said.

Edelstein mentioned briefly the road reconfigurations planned for such thoroughfares as Lincoln, Sepulveda, Santa Monica, Pico for the coming year and was asked about Measure M.

What was to be a cozy place to shop on “Great Streets” has turned into a business downfall for the businesses. Demetrius owns four businesses on Venice Blvd in the diet and he is unhappy.

Former CD11 Council candidates Mark Ryavec and Robin Rudisill have both endorsed Recall Bonin. Edelstein said Robin Rudisil was stuck in traffic or she would have addressed the audience and everyone laughed at the irony of the statement.