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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Safran Submits for Permits to Build

Triangle

Thomas Safran Associates submitted paperwork for permits and coastal commission review relating to Oxford Triangle proposed 98-unit homeless project proposed for the Thatcher Yard.

Karen Kennedy of the Oxford Triangle Association (OTA) said this was a standard procedure for a developer to submit for permits and coastal commission review and approval. It is part of the process and was expected, she said. The OTA has requested a complete set of the application submittals for CPC-2018-5593-CU-DB-CDP-MEL-SSPP-WDI-SPR. Definitions of the code by Kennedy:

CU – Conditional Use (for a public private venture in a PF Zone)
DB – Density Bonus (for the affordable housing)
CDP – Coastal Development Permit (for a project in the coastal zone)
MEL – Mello Compliance (re: housing in the coastal zone)
SPP – Specific Plan Project Permit Compliance (for a project located within the Venice Coastal Zone Specific Plan, Oxford Triangle Subarea)
WDI – Waiver of Dedication or Improvement (to NOT widen and improve the cul-de-sac on Oxford to accommodate more traffic/circulation)
SPR – Site Plan Review (for any project which creates more than 50 dwelling units)

Bonin Serves up MTA Bus Yard in Venice — Now 5 New Homeless Facilities Pending; Nothing in Pacific Palisades or Brentwood

By Chris Wrede

Mike Bonin continued his war on working families in Venice today with a proposal calling for the installation of a sprawling homeless shelter at the 3.5-acre MTA Bus Yard on Sunset between Main and Pacific. LA Times Article.

The housing projects and shelters in the pipeline for Venice now include the following:

1. Bonin’s Sprawling Shelter on the 3.5-acre MTA Bus Yard on Main Street.

2. The Monster on the Venice Median with 140 units, two vertical parking structures and no open space on the 2.8-acre Venice Boulevard Median, a block off the beach between Pacific and Dell.

3. The Thatcher Yard project on a 2-acre lot a block off the Marina Green in the strictly residential Oxford Triangle.

4. The Venice Community Housing Corporation’s Rose Apartments on poor Rose Avenue (which already has the massive St. Joseph’s Center and one of the largest permanent encampments outside of Skid Row), which will traverse two lots, exceed the height limits in the Venice Specific Plan by 20 feet, with no parking for 30-plus units.

5. 102 Navy Street where the Venice Community Housing Corporation — one of the most rapacious developers in the history of Venice — has reportedly accepted $500,000 from the Santa Monica City Council to provide housing for Santa Monica homeless in Venice.  SMDP (Santa Monica Daily Press) article.

Also, Bonin has opened restrooms on Ocean Front Walk 24/7 despite the Venice Beach Curfew and is planning (to use his words) a “system of portable public restrooms” on sidewalks and other public rights of way throughout Venice.

And,Will Hawkins of the Venice Neighborhood Council is pushing three motions calling for “Safe Parking in Residential Driveways,” “Safe Camping” and “Adopt-a-Tent” programs that would provide financial compensation from the City to Venice residents who allow homeless to park in their driveways and camp on their sidewalks and in their backyards.

No shelters, housing projects, bathrooms or camping initiatives are planned in Pacific Palisades or Brentwood.

You can’t make this stuff up. It is really happening.

Fight Back Venice and its partners in Venice United are continuing to organize and mobilize. Please register  with us to keep up to date and find out how you can help Fight Back for fair treatment.

Confessions of a Venice NIMBY

By Christopher Wrede

Note the author is a founding member of Venice Vision (fightbackvenice.org)

Venice Vision argues that oversized housing projects and an over concentration of services will exacerbate the impacts of homelessness.

There has been a lot of talk in the press and among politicians lately about how “NIMBYs” must not be permitted to interfere with the city’s mission to build housing for the homeless. Theft and murder are still frowned upon, but these days it seems like there is no greater crime in Los Angeles than NIMBYism.

Well, I confess. I am what proponents of pedal-to-the-metal development of homeless housing would call a NIMBY. As a 15-year Venice resident, I have studied Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin’s so-called “Plan to End Homelessness in Venice,” and I am against it for several reasons.

First, while I welcome housing for the homeless in my community, Bonin’s plan puts too many large projects here. The average size of affordable housing developments ranges from 35 to 60 units throughout Los Angeles, but Bonin’s plan calls for three separate projects in Venice that are many times that size. These include 98 units of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) — a subset of affordable housing designed specifically for chronically homeless persons — on the two-acre Thatcher Yard, almost abutting Marina del Rey; 136 units of PSH and standard affordable housing on a 2.8-acre lot a block off the sand on Venice Boulevard; and an undetermined (but presumably comparable) number of PSH and affordable housing units on the 3.5-acre Metro lot along Main Street between Gold’s Gym and the beach.

Bonin has also started converting the former senior center at Westminster Park into a storage facility for the homeless and secured approval to keep existing restrooms on the Venice Boardwalk open 24/7 for the encampments there, while working to install what he refers to as a “system of portable public restrooms” on public rights of way in other parts of Venice.

Claims that measures such as these will end homelessness in Venice are not true. As a matter of federal law, none of the units being built in Venice can be reserved strictly for Venice’s homeless, and the continued expansion of services will make Venice even more of a magnet. According to the Los Angeles County Homeless Services Authority’s annual homeless counts, the homeless population in Venice spiked 34% between 2016 (the year Bonin began rolling out his plan) and 2017, while dropping in the rest of Bonin’s district (including a decline of about 50% in Pacific Palisades) during the same period.

Which brings me to the second reason I oppose Bonin’s plan: While asking far too much of Venice, it does not ask nearly enough of other communities in Bonin’s district. The City Council long ago reversed the “policy of containment” that gave rise to Skid Row on the grounds that it is not good for communities or the homeless, and Bonin himself recently threw his support behind a new resolution calling on all 15 council members to approve 222 units of PSH in their respective districts by 2020 in order to ensure “geographic equity” in the distribution of Prop. HHH projects.

As an established homeless hub, those same principles — reversing “containment” and ensuring “geographic equity” — should apply to us. Yet more than 80% of the land Bonin has selected for Prop. HHH development is in Venice. And all told, Venice (which accounts for just 5% of the land in Bonin’s district) currently has nearly 200 PSH units in the pipeline, which is close to the goal of 222 PSH units that the council’s “geographic equity” resolution sets for entire council districts. Meanwhile, Bonin does not have any PSH planned for Pacific Palisades or Brentwood, even though they are each more than five times larger than Venice.

Finally, I am concerned about what will happen to Venice, as ground zero for Prop. HHH development on the Westside, if the city’s experiment in large-scale homeless housing fails. To date, the city has committed roughly $230 million of its $1.2-billion Prop. HHH budget for about 1,200 PSH units (PSH units cost about $450,000 each, but funding is also provided from other sources), so it appears the city is on track to deliver just 6,000 — or 60% — of the 10,000 PSH units it originally promised voters. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, similarly, has acknowledged that it is facing shortfalls in excess of $150 million per year despite the hundreds of millions of dollars it gets each year from last year’s Measure H sales tax increase.

Venice is world-famous for its big heart and open mind, and we want to continue doing our part to help address homelessness with both services and housing. But Bonin’s plan is not fair. Piling on small communities without electoral clout is easy, but the risks and burdens of dealing with a crisis of this magnitude must be distributed evenly across all communities — including wealthy, well-connected communities that have historically been insulated from such pressures. That is what leadership on this issue looks like, and so far Bonin is not providing it.

Ryavec Speaks Out Against Waiving Environmental Impact Reports

Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association, spoke on KPCC AirTalk with anchor Larry Mantle opposing the City Council’s proposal to waive environmental, height and parking requirements for homeless projects such as those proposed for the Venice Boulevard Median and Thatcher Yard in the Oxford Triangle.  To Listen.

Do not use PSH Ordinance … where are we now, coach

It is all so confusing! Understand no one is accusing anyone. People just want answers. People are all just trying to find out who is in charge so questions can be asked, answers obtained.

People want to know what the ground rules are for the Venice Median and the Thatcher Yard since now it is known that the PSH (permanent supportive housing) ordinance will not affect either project, yet everyone is acting like the PSH ordinance is or will affect both projects.

David Graham-Casio, chief of staff to Councilman Mike Bonin, said earlier in the month that the PSH Ordinance will not affect the Venice Median Project or the Thatcher Yard Project even if and when the PSH ordinance is passed. Taylor Bazley, Venice deputy for Councilman Mike Bonin, made the same statement at the Venice Neighborhood Council last Tuesday night.

PSH people are those who have a disability (alcohol, drugs, mental, physical ) and are homeless or are chronically homeless without a disability.

PSH Ordinance

PSH Ordinance says 50 percent or more of project units have to be PSH.

PSH Ordinance says PSH units do not require parking.

PSH Ordinance says Affordable units require only 1/2 parking per unit

Venice Median
Number of PSH units designated for the Venice Median is 50 percent plus two units for live-in help, 140 units. This can be changed. Now that the PSH Ordinance is not applicable, how about 2 percent PSH?

The parking requirements must be changed to reflect 1/2 for PSH and 1 for affordable.

Recently Becky Dennison, director of the Venice Community Housing, said no one has to create a new category to provide for low income artists. Yet a motion was made by councilmen Jose Huizar and Mike Bonin to create the artist category. See how confusing it is?

Thatcher Yard
Most confusing of all. Existing rules say yard should be rezoned R-1 which would create 18, (5000-sq-ft) lots. Councilman Mike Bonin says he wants the yard rezoned R1.5. Question is: Can a councilman change zoning when in conflict with City Planning rules?

But assuming he can rezone to R1.5, that would make it 62 units with two 35 percent bonuses for another 21.7 units each … 104 to 106 maximum. When this figure was printed in Venice Update 22 August 2016, Councilman Mike Bonin answered “Nuts.”

“The idea of 106 units of housing at Thatcher Yard and 260 units at the Venice Median (Dell and Pacific) … is something I would never support,” Councilman Mike Bonin wrote.

(The Oxford Triangle where the Thatcher Yard is located consists of approximately 350 residences.)

Yet, when the development crew met residents at the site, the developers mentioned rezoning to R-3, four stories, more than 150 units, 50 percent PSH. All against the Oxford Triangle Specific Plan and the LAMC for zoning.

Those on the inside monitoring the developer say that the developer is now down to around 100 units. David Graham-Caso says developer is “committed to using the existing development process.”

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.

 

New Ordinance Proposes to Fast-track and Facilitate Venice Median and Thatcher Yard “Affordable” Projects

City of LA Planning is proposing a Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Ordinance that will remove many of the restrictions and fast-track the process for the Venice Median and the Thatcher Yard affordable housing projects.  A hearing will be held 12 September,  6:30 to 8:30, at Gateway Apartments, 13368 Beach Ave, Marina del Rey. RSVP is required. Contact Cally.hardy@lacity.org or call 213-978-1643.

LA City Planning Department is proposing this ordinance establishing new regulations to facilitate the production of Permanent Supportive Housing for PSH homeless individuals and families. In general, people who qualify for PSH have a low income and have at lease one disability, such as mental illness, HIV or AIDS, substance abuse, or another chronic health condition, or are just chronically homeless.

The ordinance is intended to remove regulatory barriers that impair the construction of new supportive housing projects by streamlining the approval process to significantly reduce the average time it takes for a PSH developer to begin construction. Additionally, requirements for minimum lot area per unit will be reduced allowing higher density plus parking would not be required for any of the PHS units.

Other ordinances for PSH running parallel to this one are for motels and hotels.

This is the proposed ordinance PSHO Ord and the summary and frequently asked questions PSH Ordinance Summary .

 

 

 

 

 

CD11 Candidates Answer Questions Asked by Venetians for Venice Update Q&A

This is the third set of questions the Venice Update submitted to the incumbent and the two candidates for the CD11 Council Seat.

Hopefully, these questions with the answers will help you, the voting reader,  be better informed on issues concerning Venetians. These questions were composed by a small group of Venetians. The questions have been answered and are printed below.

There will be just one more set of questions before the election.

Mike Bonin

1.Venetians west of Lincoln Blvd want preferential parking.  They feel preferential parking would solve many of the parking and camping issues in Venice.  It has been stated that the council office is the one dragging its feet to meet the California Coastal Commission minimum requirements to get preferential parking.  If elected, what steps would you take to get preferential parking in Venice west of Lincoln.  Why do you feel this has this not been done?  Would you make this a priority?

Repeated attempts by the City of Los Angeles and neighbors in Venice to get permit parking over the course of several decades have been stymied by the California Coastal Commission. The Commission has been clear about what it will take for Venice to be able to permit parking for its residents. In short, we need to build more parking, create more options for people to get to the beach without a car, and approve a Local Coastal Plan. I am the first elected official in more than a generation to do that:

Build More Public Parking – I am very happy that during my first term, the City has built additional public parking in Venice for first time in decades. In 2015, we added 66 new spaces at the public lot at 1300 Electric Avenue. In 2016, we added 50 new spaces at 1600 Tabor Court. We also opened up30 new night time parking spots on Venice Boulevard near the beach, and I initiated the legally mandated study needed to allow us to raise parking fees on developers so we have more money to build additional parking in Venice.

Increase Transit Options to and from Venice – The Coastal Commission has repeatedly urged the City to increase transit options for the beach. In the past four years, we have added bike lanes, improved safety features for cyclists, added the Santa Monica-based bike share program, and have begun to add the Metro-operated bike share program in Venice.

Approve a Local Coastal Plan – The City was supposed to adopt an LCP in the 1970s, and after decades of delay, I insisted we start the LCP process, which will give us local control and the ability to regulate our own parking. I secured funding from several pots of money, including state grants, and won approval for the Department of City Planning to hire staff. The initial scoping sessions have already begun.

It is easy for other candidates to say we should insist on permit parking. It is another thing entirely to understand what it takes for the City to win that authority, and to have the ability to deliver the funding and resources and projects required to get that authority.

2.  It appears self-evident that the sale of the Thatcher Yard and the Venice Median Parking lot would house many more homeless if the properties were sold and monies used to build elsewhere.  How would you, or do you, justify building on these lots knowing this or would you sell and build elsewhere.

Taken to its logical conclusion, that statement and question suggest that the City of Los Angeles should only build low-income or homeless housing in the areas where property is the cheapest, which effectively means shifting the burden of solving a regional crisis primarily in low-income communities (which, in Los Angeles, happen to be mostly African-American and Latino.) That is not a tenable solution. Every part of Los Angeles needs to be part of a solution to a crisis that impacts every part of Los Angeles.

In 2016, the City approved a Comprehensive Homelessness Strategy, which calls for the City to consider using its surplus, vacant, and under-used properties in all parts of the City for housing. Among the first dozen properties being considered are Thatcher Yard and the Dell-Pacific lot. These are not the only lots being considered in the first round, and the City will begin the process of looking at a second batch in the next few months. In total, the City will be examining hundreds of properties in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles as part of this process.

It is also important to note – despite repeated assertions to the contrary – that the City has not decided what or even whether to build on these properties. The City has only allowed affordable housing developers the opportunity to propose at these sites. At this point, there are no actual proposals. The housing developers who were assigned to each of the Venice sites are conducting community and neighborhood outreach before they propose something. Then, those proposal must be reviewed by the Land Use and Planning Committee of the Venice Neighborhood Council, the full Venice Neighborhood Council, and then the City planning approval process and likely the California Coastal Commission.

There will only be proposals for each site after the developers work with communities to create proposals. And those proposals will not be acted on without extensive further community input.

3. The mayor and our city council are advocating enthusiastically to bring the 2024 Olympics to Los Angeles.  According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “A growing number of economists argue that both the short- and long-term benefits of hosting the games are at best exaggerated and at worst nonexistent, leaving many host countries with large debts and maintenance liabilities.” Given that the city already has the worst traffic in the country and a looming budget,  what is your basis for supporting the  L.A. 2024 Olympics?

Unlike almost any other city in the world, Los Angeles is incredibly well-positioned to host the Olympic Games, and to make a profit doing so.

Los Angeles, having hosted the Games twice before, has a track record of managing the games AND turning a profit. The surplus from the 1984 Olympics is still building and supporting parks and local school sports in LA, and that the 2024 Games is projected to have an even bigger surplus.

Why it that? The biggest cost to other host cities is building infrastructure to accommodate the Games. The Los Angeles region already has nearly all of the necessary venues and infrastructure in place, and faces no significant upfront costs in order to be a host city. The organizing committee’s $4.5-billion budget anticipates a profit of about $150 million after recording such income as the $1.7-billion IOC contribution, $1.5 billion from sponsorships, $1.12 billion from tickets and $850 million in broadcast rights.

The City negotiated significant concessions and major partners have stepped in to help protect the City treasury. Concerned about the costs of building an Olympic Village, we balked – and now the athletes and media will be housed in dormitories at UCLA and USC. The federal government has agreed to cover security costs, and the state has guaranteed $250 million to cover any potential cost over-runs. If we are selected to host the 2024 Games, it is most likely that we will not only benefit from tremendous investment and job creation throughout the region, but we will also very likely have a surplus after the Games that can help make Los Angeles a better place to live for generations to come. In the unlikely event that the Games run over budget, there are multiple levels of protection to make sure that taxpayers in Los Angeles are protected from footing the bill.

4.  What is the one question you feel has not been asked that you would like to answer?  Possibly, there is more than one question.

Supplemental Question 1:

 In the past four years, what have you done for Venice?

I am proud of the things we have gotten done for Venice in the last few years, and I am eager to have an opportunity to continue working to make Venice a great place to live, work and enjoy. Some of the things I have accomplished include:

•    Fighting for funding to hire a Superintendent at Venice Beach – adding coordination and oversight to the popular tourist destination, business district and neighborhood

•    Funding and personally helped upgrade the foot bridges over the Venice Canals to refurbish the bridges and handrails

•    Adding new parking lots along Irving Tabor Court and Electric Avenue to provide parking for local businesses

•    Resurfacing Venice handball courts

•    Adding new bike racks, signs and bollards to stop people from accidentally driving on Ocean Front Walk

•    Fighting to keep the Latino Resource Organization in the Vera Davis Center and got funding allocated in the budget to preserve programs at the Vera Davis Center

•    Working with neighbors and the LAPD to help find the people responsible for defacing the Vietnam Veterans MIA/POW memorial wall, and to restore the cherished mural

•    Working with local business owners to start the Venice Business Improvement District, which will help keep the area safe and clean

•    Getting a series of high-tech security cameras added to Venice Beach area, giving the LAPD an important tool to fight crime at Venice Beach

•    Working with small businesses owners to formally establish the Washington Square Business Improvement Group

•    Adding a bike lane to Rose Avenue

•    Working with the City of Santa Monica to place Breeze Bike Share stations in Venice, so locals and tourists could use the convenient bike share service

•    Partnering with the Venice Chamber of Commerce to host community celebrations and “Venice Sign Lightings” for LGBT Pride, the Day of the Doors, the Los Angeles Rams and the Holidays

•    Getting funding allocated to improve and beautify Venice Centennial Park

•    Supporting Venice Art Walk with a grant to keep the beloved community celebration of art alive

•    Helping accelerate a landscaping project at the DWP facility at Lincoln and Broadway to get drought-tolerant landscaping installed

•    Installing a flashing-beacon crosswalk across Abbot Kinney Boulevard to keep kids crossing the street on the way to Westminster Elementary School safe

•    Funding weekly Bureau of Sanitation cleanups on Ocean Front Walk, Third Avenue and Westminster Avenue

•    Working with the Venice Farmers Market to get EBT Functionality so the Farmers Market could serve people at different income levels

•    Focusing the Clean Streets program on the Couer d’Alene area to clean up general debris and alley weeds

•    Upgrading Muscle Beach with new equipment and resurfacing

•    Creating 30 new night time parking spots on Venice Boulevard near the beach

•    Starting the process establishing an “Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District” for Venice, allowing tax money created in Venice to be dedicated toward improvements in Venice

•    Working with Mayor Garcetti to break ground on a water reclamation project at Penmar Park that will save water and prevent pollution from reaching Santa Monica Bay

•    Funding the upgrade of street lights on Ocean Front Walk to brighter and more energy-efficient LED lights

•    Hosting a series of free movie nights at Oakwood Recreation Center, offering fun, family-friendly opportunities for neighbors to gather

•    Co-sponsoring the Venice Community Health Fair with Assemblywoman Autumn Burke

•    Protecting affordable housing by authoring legislation that forces the city to draft and adopt a permanent Mello Act ordinance

•    Working with the Planning Department to clarify that the Venice Specific Plan development standards supercede the small lot subdivision ordinance, protecting community character in Venice

•    Starting a program to add artwork to utility boxes throughout Venice, adding color and art to the neighborhood

•    Increasing the number of police officers patrolling the beach area on bike and horseback

•    Restoring the Street Services clean-up of walk streets

•    Hiring Chrysalis to augment cleaning of Venice Beach restroom facilities

•    Launching the process to adopt a “Venice Local Coastal Plan” to protect the area from overdevelopment and make the permitting process simpler

•    Stopping the 522 Venice project and won a landmark case demonstrating the primacy of the Coastal Act in local decisions

•    Standing with the community to kill the unpopular 1414 Main Street project

•    Working with state legislators to amend SB1818, the state’s “density bonus law,” to close a loophole so that developers could not get density bonuses while reducing affordable housing

•    Launching Operation Street Lift along Washington Boulevard, coordinating street repaving with other important neighborhood repairs to minimize impact on local businesses

•    Founding and facilitated Venice Forward – a multi-agency collaborative focused on ending homelessness in Venice

•    Bringing Lava Mae to Venice, offering the homeless a place to shower and use the restroom

•    Working with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl to found a County-City-Community (C3) partnership for Venice, which brings outreach workers and health professionals to the area to help homeless people connect to housing and resources

•    Adding more LAPD HOPE teams to Pacific Division to offer additional resources to conduct outreach to the homeless

•    Helping fund the homeless outreach work of LAPD Chaplains Steve and Regina Weller

•    Working with People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) to conduct outreach services in Venice

Supplemental Question 2:

What have you done to make government smarter, more efficient, and more constituent friendly?

One of my mantras is that “Government should be on your side, not on your back.” That is why my first action as an elected official was to repeal the city policy that allowed you to get a ticket if you were parked at a broken meter. And it is why I am leading a major parking reform initiative that will reduce parking fines, allow you to park in a street sweeping zone after the sweeper has gone by, keep meter revenue in the local area for neighborhood improvements, and “code the curb” to allow our meters to communicate with smart phone apps so you know when and where spaces are available, and so you can pay using your smartphone.

Additionally, I have pushed the City to expand the use technology and created a pilot program to provide tablet technology to firefighters, allowing to increase efficiency and more easily and quickly save lives and property. (When I took office, some firefighters were still using Thomas Guides.)

I have also routinely tried to open government up for easier access to the people we represent. I hold “Pop Up Office Hours” at farmers’ markets, supermarkets, youth sporting events, church festivals, and more to give any person with an issue an opportunity to meet with me face-to-face. This augments my frequent practice of meeting with neighbors in a living room or backyard to discuss problems and solutions. And even as an elected official, I have continued to go door-to-door to talk with the people I represent. (The first neighborhood I walked, with Mayor Eric Garcetti, was in Venice.)

Supplemental Question 3:

Venice is a coastal community, and the 11th District includes the beach, the Santa Monica Mountains, and the Ballona wetlands. What have you done to protect the environment?

I have made protecting the environment and encouraging sustainability a priority in my first term, authoring legislation and working with Mayor Eric Garcetti to advance a progressive environmental platform. It is our sacred obligation to protect this planet and its environment for future generations. That is why I have done the following:

Fighting for Clean Energy
Working with the Sierra Club, I have co-authored legislation that created a research collaborative with the sole mission of charting a smart and achievable path to 100% clean energy in Los Angeles. Through this effort, Los Angeles could become the largest city in the nation to achieve 100% clean energy and an international beacon for the clean energy revolution that will prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

Stopping Fracking and Taking on the Oil and Gas Industry
I co-authored the Los Angeles Fracking Moratorium and took on the oil and gas industry on a number of fronts, including working to stop “oil bomb trains” from running through Los Angeles.

Protecting Water Quality and Encouraging Conservation
I wrote common-sense legislation to: stop watering city lawns that are scheduled for replacement with drought-tolerant landscaping; use tiered pricing for water rates to increase conservation; and cutting through red-tape to make it cheaper and easier to install home water recycling systems. My work on water issues has also included efforts to protect the quality of our water, fighting to protect the Santa Monica Bay from polluted stormwater runoff by breaking ground on two water reclamation and treatment projects (both funded by Prop O) that capture and clean stormwater before it reaches the Bay. One of them is at Penmar Park in Venice.

Protecting Neighborhood Trees
I won precedent-setting rulings against developers who illegally chopped-down protected trees in a Westside neighborhood. I have worked to get more trees trimmed on the Westside to ensure a healthy urban forest, and I introduced legislation to hold contractors accountable for trimming according to the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A300 standards. I also fought to have the protection of neighborhood trees be a major part of the city’s recently approved sidewalk repair plan.

Transportation Leadership
Some of my most significant environmental leadership has been my work on the Metro Board of Directors, where I am helping to take cars off the road by expanding public transportation. I led the successful charge to finally connect LAX with our rail system, which will not only take a ton of cars off the Westside streets I represent, but will keep tons of carbon pollution out of the air. The Metro/LAX connection is part of a comprehensive approach to revolutionizing how people get to and from the region’s largest airport, and I am working to create other convenient and sustainable facilities, such as a consolidated rental car center, an intermodal transportation facility, and an automated people mover that will make it quick and simple to get to the airport without ever needing to get into a single-passenger vehicle. I also served as the Chair of the Expo Line Construction Authority, working with neighborhood and transportation activists to ensure the Westside finally got a rail line that would help people get around LA without their cars.

Creating Open Space
I worked to expand open space on the Westside, championing opportunities to give my constituents more ways to enjoy the outdoors. We are working to open Via Dolce Park on the east bank of the Grand Canal, and we are making progress toward the completion of Potrero Canyon park – a 45.7 acre passive open space park with riparian habitat in the Pacific Palisades. Additionally, I won approval for a plan for the vacant land north of LAX that will include nearly 50 acres of open space for the community to enjoy.

Making it Safer and Easier to Walk and Bike in LA
Nearly half of all trips taken in LA are less than three miles, and eighty-seven percent of those trips are taken by car. We can improve our neighborhoods and protect the environment by making it easier and safer to walk and bike in LA, taking cars off the road and potential pollution out of the air. I won approval of the Mobility Plan 2035 – a planning document that will create a bike network throughout Los Angeles and will vastly improve how we plan and design our city to better protect bicyclists and pedestrians who opt not to rely on cars for transportation. I am also a champion of the city’s Vision Zero commitment, which seeks to end traffic fatalities in LA by 2025 by reducing vehicle speeds on local streets and incorporating better street design to protect pedestrians from cars.

Taking on Monsanto
I authored legislation to stop the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks from using Monsanto’s “Roundup” pesticides and to instead explore safer and more sustainable options.

Supplemental Question 4:

What achievements are you most proud of?

  1. Passing a $15 citywide minimum wage: This landmark legislation set a precedent that the state and other communities followed. It will positively change the lives of millions.
  2. Shaping and winning voter approval of Measure M, which will invest billions in mass transit, traffic relief and road repair.
  3. Shaping and winning voter approval of Proposition HHH, which allow us to house 10,000 homeless people.

 

Robin Rudisill

 

1.Venetians west of Lincoln Blvd want preferential parking.  They feel preferential parking would solve many of the parking and camping issues in Venice.  It has been stated that the council office is the one dragging its feet to meet the California Coastal Commission minimum requirements to get preferential parking.  If elected, what steps would you take to get preferential parking in Venice west of Lincoln.  Why do you feel this has this not been done?  Would you make this a priority?

Preferential parking in the Coastal Zone is both a dream and a nightmare….and it’s not just a question of who’s for it or against it. The Venice Coastal Zone Certified Land Use Plan requires that any public parking place that is removed from general public parking, must be replaced with a new public space. So if we did permit parking for the whole coastal zone, we’d have to provide that many more spaces, and that’s simply not going to happen. However, it’s possible we could do limited areas of permit parking. Then the question would be, who gets the benefit of the parking and who doesn’t! If we need parking for the elderly and handicapped, we can probably do those as designated spaces, but to do permit parking, we would have to come up with a system to decide who has the greatest need, or who is willing to pay to provide new public parking spaces, or some other system to decide how they would be allotted. This is why, despite the ongoing outcry for permit parking, no one has actually taken it on. I know this isn’t the answer people want to hear, but if it makes anyone feel better, we should remember that we have the Coastal Act to thank for keeping Venice from turning into a solid beachfront of high-rises, like Miami Beach. And part of the price we pay for that protection is that we have to provide and promote coastal access to visitors, including those from other communities of CD-11 and our own city.

2.  It appears self-evident that the sale of the Thatcher Yard and the Venice Median Parking lot would house many more homeless if the properties were sold and monies used to build elsewhere.  How would you, or do you,  justify building on these lots knowing this or would you sell and build elsewhere.

With regard to Thatcher Yard, the answer is fairly straight forward. I would first meet with the City officials responsible for the maintenance yard, to better understand why they believe it is no longer needed. It seems that the Westside needs such a yard and I cannot think of any reason why the Westside’s requirements for such a yard have reduced so dramatically as to not need the entire Thatcher Yard any more. If this proposed change is being done for the wrong reasons, it would be a costly mistake to convert it from Public Facility and then soon find out it is needed after all and then have to acquire additional City property for it on the Westside, at a higher cost. That said, this possible change has already been vetted by the Community and the decision was that such a site would become R1 if the City decides to abandon operations at the site. I would ask the community members to tell me if they still agree with that policy recommendation. Also, this property is right in the middle of one of only a couple of R-1, single-family neighborhoods in the Venice Coastal Zone. As our certified Land Use Plan states, the character, scale and stability of our single-family residential neighborhoods must be protected. Under Measure S, no General Plan Zone change may be done.

With regard to the Venice Median Parking lot, it’s complicated. This lot is in the Coastal Zone and our General Plan Venice Community Plan, which includes the Certified Land Use Plan, designates the Venice Median parking lot as Open Space, meant for beach parking. It’s very doubtful that the Coastal Commission will approve a zoning change if the change is not going to increase coastal access. That means it’s dubious as to whether they’d approve the supportive housing project, but it’s even more dubious that they would approve the sale of the lot for some other use, unless it expands coastal access. And there’s another wild card; if Measure S passes, nothing can be built there for at least two years, except for more parking.

If I lived in that neighborhood, I’d also be very wary of encouraging the City to sell that lot in order to build elsewhere. Is it the neighbors suggesting this option, or is it real estate developers? To sell it, the City would have to change the zoning, and by the very logic of your question, the City would need to zone it to get the highest possible price. That would mean the biggest, tallest buildings possible, with the largest number of apartments or condos. Remember, this is the City that just gave Rick Caruso a zoning change to build 140 feet above the existing 45 ft height limit, and Mike Bonin just gave his blessing to the Martin Cadillac project, which is going to add over 7,000 vehicle trips per day to the most congested spot on the Westside, even though he knows it’s going to gridlock sixteen surrounding intersections. All this is beyond the beyond of unacceptable and makes a complete mockery of our planning laws and codes.

I would honor the provisions of our Land Use Plan, which was certified by the Coastal Commission to serve the mandate of the California Coastal Act. If we start playing with the rules governing the Venice Median Parking lot, we chip away at the protections that currently benefit all residents of the Coastal Zone, as well as at the public beach access to which we all have a right and from which all Californians benefit. As I have been saying, I will look for other options that don’t abuse our planning laws, don’t violate our coastal laws, and don’t cause severe strife in our neighborhoods. I will look for existing buildings that can be repurposed for supportive housing and for ways to quickly build small housing units using new models, and I will focus on using city land that won’t be subject to a Measure S moratorium. The homeless crisis is too important to invite major delays in providing the related housing.

3. The mayor and our city council are advocating enthusiastically to bring the 2024 Olympics to Los Angeles.  According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “A growing number of economists argue that both the short- and long-term benefits of hosting the games are at best exaggerated and at worst nonexistent, leaving many host countries with large debts and maintenance liabilities.” Given that the city already has the worst traffic in the country and a looming budget,  what is your basis for supporting the  L.A. 2024 Olympics?

We should be cautious, but it could be beneficial. In ’84, the Olympics brought a huge burst of vitality and creativity to the City. It gave the arts a major boost, as well as commerce. So I wouldn’t turn the Olympics down, but I’d make darn sure we host them on our terms, with all the caution and skepticism that such a large endeavor requires. The Games have a long history of picking host cities’ pockets. However, in 1984, Los Angeles was the first city to host the Games without taking a gouge out of the City budget or putting the City in serious long-term debt. So it’s possible, or at least it was with the political leadership we had 30 years ago, with Peter Ueberroth running the effort.

We have the advantage of already having almost all the needed infrastructure in place – the venues, the dorm housing, the media – that few other cities can match. The question is whether our City decision makers will be sufficiently responsible to keep expenses in line. Will they be watchdogs, or simply cheerleaders? From what I’ve seen, they’ve been all too eager hand out taxpayers’ money for pet projects, from hotels to tech companies.

As the Olympics get closer, the pressure will build to finish projects in time for the games, and that’s when the purse strings get loosened. My financial experience, as CFO and Controller for Bank of America FSB and other banks, gives me the skills to protect the taxpayers from the dangers that come with a huge event like the Olympics.

4.  What is the one question you feel has not been asked that you would like to answer?  Possibly, there is more than one question.

How does the Coastal Act affect any of these questions? Bonin seems to be assuming the City can do whatever it wants, but state law trumps City law, and the Coastal Act mandates coastal access and “coastal dependent” uses.

Why is Bonin allowing Snapchat to run roughshod over the community, breaking land use and state housing (Mello Act) laws and turning areas of the Venice Coastal Zone into a corporate campus?

What good is the Mello Act, a state law protecting housing in the Coastal Zone, and especially affordable housing, if the City has no intention of enforcing it? Why has Bonin’s Mello Act implementation ordinance been sitting at the PLUM Committee for over a year, while illegal conversions and evictions go on without the Council Office lifting a finger to answer our cries for them to stop this?

Why has the Councilmember allowed over two thousand units of housing, much of it affordable, to be illegally converted into short-term rentals during the worst housing crisis in the City’s recent history?

Why has the Councilmember consistently refused to meet with Oakwood activists trying to save their community from destruction and over-development, even after numerous violations by developers had been uncovered?

Why is the Councilmember spending City money on a private security force for the BID along the beach, instead of getting us the police we need?

Why did the Coastal Commission rescind its grants to the City for the Local Coastal Program, which Bonin had declared his #1 priority at the beginning of his term? Or put another way, why did the Councilmember Bonin fail to meet a single one of the grants’ benchmarks over the past four years?

 

Mark Ryavec

1.Venetians west of Lincoln Blvd want preferential parking.  They feel preferential parking would solve many of the parking and camping issues in Venice.  It has been stated that the council office is the one dragging its feet to meet the California Coastal Commission minimum requirements to get preferential parking.  If elected, what steps would you take to get preferential parking in Venice west of Lincoln.  Why do you feel this has this not been done?  Would you make this a priority?

I would introduce a Motion to implement Jim Murez’s proposal to count all the Beach Impact Zone parking spaces which have been built since the Venice Local Coastal Specific Plan was adopted about 25 years ago.  BIZ parking is in addition to code required parking and was built specifically to provide parking to visitors.  These should be traded for Coastal Commission approval to convert an equal number of street spaces to preferential parking for residents.  This has not been done because Mr. Bonin is hostile to the concept of preferential parking for residents; I know this because Bill Rosendahl told me this during our earlier fight for overnight restricted parking.

2.  It appears self-evident that the sale of the Thatcher Yard and the Venice Median Parking lot would house many more homeless if the properties were sold and monies used to build elsewhere.  How would you, or do you,  justify building on these lots knowing this or would you sell and build elsewhere. 

I would re-zone the Thatcher Yard to R1 and sell it and place the proceeds in the City Housing Trust Fund to build units on less expensive land inland.  I would leave the decision on the deposition of the Venice Blvd. Median lots to the residents and VNC.  It could remain a parking lot, it could be ground-leased for a mix of underground automated parking, market rate condos and work force apartments, some open space, performance space/small theater, ground floor retail along Pacific, and maybe studio/living units for low income artists.  I would work with the community and neighbors to see what people would like to see there, if anything.  Just because Bonin “gave” it to the Mayor for inclusion in the Mayor’s budget as a site for homeless housing does not in my estimation mean that it could not just remain as parking.

3. The mayor and our city council are advocating enthusiastically to bring the 2024 Olympics to Los Angeles.  According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “A growing number of economists argue that both the short- and long-term benefits of hosting the games are at best exaggerated and at worst nonexistent, leaving many host countries with large debts and maintenance liabilities.” Given that the city already has the worst traffic in the country and a looming budget,  what is your basis for supporting the  L.A. 2024 Olympics?

We proved in 1984 that Los Angeles is an exception to the rule that says all Olympic cities lose money and end up terribly in debt.  We have even more sports facilities than in 1984 so I’m confident that we can pull off a spectacular, debt-free Olympic Games.  We handled traffic well in 1984 and now have added mass transit with more coming online before 2024, so I think we can handle the traffic, too.

4.  What is the one question you feel has not been asked that you would like to answer?  Possibly, there is more than one question.

The question that I think should be asked is what would I do if the Trump Administration moves to lease federal lots off shore to renew oil drilling off of LA’s coast.

With my long history fighting both on-shore and off-shore oil drilling, I would use the council position to lead efforts with other cities and environmental organizations and the Coastal Commission to block at every turn resumption of oil drilling along the California coastline.  We owe it to our residents and our tourist-driven economy to preserve the coast and ocean from the environmental degradation we saw decades ago in Santa Barbara and more recently in the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico.  No matter what assurances the oil industry gives, no technology is fail proof.  And we must continue to move away from fossil fuels while continuing to invest in renewable energy sources.

City Homeless Committee Hears and Approves Thatcher Yard, Venice Median

By Kip Pardue

Note:  Pardue has reference to the LA City Committee on Homelessness and Poverty that met 7 December in LA to discuss the contractors for the surplus properties, such as Thatcher Yard and Venice Median.

Just got back from the meeting at City Hall and wanted to  pass on some notes to you all…

I walked in at 9:09 and there was already a line of speakers and no more speaker cards.  I did not get a chance to speak but many spoke against the Venice plans — usually bringing up the obvious economic folly of this entire thing (help at most 250 homeless in 5 years time at a cost of $100m OR raise $100m now and help thousands TODAY).  Several people spoke in favor as well – these people were mostly affiliated (read: make money – Linda Lucks was there speaking, Becky Dennison, etc) with Venice Community Housing (VCH).  The few others who spoke in favor lived in a Safran development (pretty unlikely that they just “showed up”).  Many others wanted to speak but the comment segment of the meeting was cut short due to “time constraints.” Incidentally, that is exactly the same reason the Business Improvement District (BID) was brought up for a revote….

So Far CAO Has Made All Decisions

What happened today is the City Homeless and Poverty committee agreed in principle to an ENA (exclusive negotiating agreement) with the selected developers for the 5 city lots (8 total lots, 2 are to be sold, 1 has been pushed – more on that later, and 5 to be developed).  Bonin made a point of saying that he has not seen ANY plans – he has no idea what has been proposed for each lot by each developer.  The only people that have seen these proposals are the City Administrative Officer (CAO) “board” which ultimately made the decisions to develop or sell.  They ostensibly used the developers previous experience as a determiner as well.

If this is true, it means that a completely anonymous board of unelected officials whom we have zero contact with is making decisions about our neighborhood that affect us tremendously.  A group that has zero accountability, zero responsibility to our neighborhood, zero involvement with the public is setting the course for our lives.  They are doing so without input or ideas from the communities most affected and without recourse from the elected officials (in our case, Bonin).

If this is true, it also means that a body completely unconnected to Bonin and without Bonin’s approval, has given the go-ahead to two of Bonin’s biggest donors to develop.  They made this “choice” from 49 proposals.  They chose a company that has zero experience developing a property like the Venice median lot, has only developed one building in its history (and that was accomplished with a partnership), and has a horrible track record of maintaining properties (Venice Community Housing VCH).  At the very least, Thomas Safran Associates has SOME experience developing these types of projects…but I still find it incredibly coincidental that Safran would get 2 projects of 5.  The collusion is blatant.

Bonin reiterated some points:

No plans have been submitted and there will not be plans without community outreach.  Since VCH has never done this type of project, who knows what their community outreach will be.  I can guarantee that Becky Dennison doesn’t really care what we think – she has already said that “there is no neighborhood there (Venice medial lot area, ie: MY NEIGHBORHOOD).

All plans will be subject to approval – just like any other development.  He also said they will be subject to EIR and Coastal Commission approval.  Yet another factor that the CAO board conveniently “forgot” when looking at feasibility for the Venice lots.

Bonin wanted to know if the ENA could last longer than a year (“because nothing gets built in a year in Venice”) and also wanted to know what would happen “if it became clear that nothing was going to work on that property.”  He was basically asking if the City has an “out” and could one day rethink this entire plan.  The answer is yes, that could happen.  That was Bonin’s way of tossing us a bone…and we should continue to guide this process as much as we can along the way.  There will be meetings and it will be hard, but we have to show up and voice our concerns as we learn more.

Bonin Says All Units Must be for Homeless

Bonin was very concerned about the rumors of some of these projects having “market-rate housing” built on them.  He will not stand by that.  He feels the entire purpose of these lots being developed is for low-income/housing for the homeless.  A mixed-use with market rate housing is out of the question for Bonin.  There was also some question about permanent supportive housing being mixed with low income housing – something that to my knowledge (and to Bonin’s) does not exist – but apparently PSH can be labeled as such if 50% of the units are PSH and the other 50% are something else.  But regardless, if Bonin gets his way, there will be no market rate housing on these lots.

Bonin also asked the board to readdress the lot in Manchester that is being recommended for auction.  He felt like it would be a good site for a Habitat for Humanity project.  He had no details, no plan, no idea what that actually meant….but he had been at en event and someone brought it up and now it is going to be explored.  THAT IS HOW THIS MAN THINKS ABOUT OR NEIGHBORHOOD.  He has an idea…and he waves his hand and some committee with no accountability or authority, goes off to make it so…just like that.  A complete 180 degree turn on a property all because Bonin thinks it might be a good site for something from Habitat.

Finally, the portion of the meeting about housing came to an end with the Councilman from the 8th district (Marqueece Harris-Dawson) saying that his community already deals with homeless enough and thinks “wealthy” communities should start to do their part and not kick the problem around.

Note:  Venice is second only to Santa Cruz in state as far as having a high homeless ratio to resident.  It is 1 homeless person to 40 residents.

With that, every single person associated with VCH and homelessness in general left the room.  The meeting, however, was still VERY MUCH about homelessness and in particular about vehicular dwelling.  Difficult questions about where (industrial v residential areas, number of spots – the committee felt 25 per district was enough, Bonin pushed for 50 and reassessing after 6 months), about who, and about how vans and RV’s would be dealt with…but not one person there from VCH actually cared about those people or those solutions.  They only care about the money they stand to make on building housing.  They are only interested in their tired old model that has gotten us into the mess we are in today.  They strutted out of the room — happy that they will profit while people sleep on the streets and in their cars for YEARS until this housing is built.  It’s sickening and vile. I have never seen such a smug group of self-righteous people in my life.  They truly think they are doing the “right” thing and will not listen to anyone who questions them.  They hide behind being “good,” but they showed how little they care when they cleared out that room while important decisions were still being made.

 

Safran Group Responds to Questions Regarding Thatcher Yard

Thatcher Yard

Thatcher Yard

Tyler Monroe, member of the Thomas Safran development team for the Thatcher Yard, answered Venice Update questions, such as what is the process, where are you with the process, and what was proposed for the site.

We do not yet have official written approval of our selection. The City staff recommended us to Council; two council committees already voted to approve. The City staff expects full City Council approval by mid-December. The staff report to Council recommends TSA “in writing” for the site.

Our Proposal. The goal of our proposal was to demonstrate flexibility and willingness to consider all options to make the best project for the site, the community and the City. Therefore, we proposed multiple “mixed income” options for this site. The options vary in density (from 84 to 152 units) and the mix of populations served (market rate, independent affordable and permanent supportive). We don’t yet know what the City staff prefers. We specifically state in our proposal that once selected, we will “work with the City and the local stakeholders to find the right tenant population.”

As a starting point, we proposed 60% market rate, 30% independent affordable and only up to 10% permanent supportive housing. I think that this may be quite different from what many people expect. We also expressed willingness to increase affordability if it was acceptable and City funds were provided (Proposition HHH or other) to make it work. The final project size and housing types will be determined by the community engagement process.

Next Steps. Once approved, we will do very thorough community outreach (including public meetings with ample opportunity for input) to determine the best solution on this site for all stakeholders and then; go through the city planning process for land use approvals plus, the Coastal Commission for a Coastal Development Permit. We are absolutely at the earliest stage. The final project program will be born out of a robust community input process.

We look forward to discussing further how we make this a wonderful project for all!