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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

10th Annual VNC Picnic a Blast

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The Venice Neighborhood Council’s BBQ Picnic Saturday at Oakwood Park was a “Blast,” according to one participant. There was a bouncie for the kids, side dishes and meat, the latter cooked by Station 63 Firemen, followed by a band.

Keep Streets, Sidewalks Clean

healthy streets

Local Architect Proposes New Community Center, Dog Park — Westminster Senior Center

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Overview of the two-story community center building with satellite seating areas. Two round areas are individually for small dogs and children, while a larger area is for larger dogs.

“I have seen major changes here in Venice Beach related to private properties; however, so little attention has been given to existing public spaces,” said Mehrnoosh Mojallali, local architect and member of the Land Use and Planning Committee.

“These spaces in Venice Beach should serve the community with activities that promote social synergy.”

Venice resident Mehrnoosh is an architect dedicated to changing the public spaces in Venice to better serve the community — to beautify them and make them more useable, resident friendly, and desirable. This is her “redo” of the Westminster Senior Center, Dog Park.

“As an urban designer I am a strong believer that collaborations of art, architecture, landscaping and planning can blur economic and cultural boundaries and enhance life in cities such as Venice Beach. Communities come together at public spaces and improve quality of life for all,” she said.

Mehrnoosh received a Masters of Architecture & Urban Design degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Design and is past president of Association of Women in Architecture L.A.

For this purpose, she has proposed a design for both the Windward Center and the Westminster Community Center/Dog Park at existing Senior Center. The design for the Windward Circle will be in a future Update.

The dog park is totally self-sustained. The design provides a special place for meetings, for children, for small dogs and for large dogs. The plan would be to raise money to help Department of Recreation and Parks bring this to Venice.

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Closeup view of two-story civic building and children’s play area.

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MTA Site on Sunset to Start Environmental Testing

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is continuing progressing with the site and will start removing the fuel tanks after the 4th.  They have assured all that the POW/MIA memorial wall will be restored and names will be digitally archived.  Venice Chamber of Commerce and the Veterans’s Foundation are accepting donations.  The following is a press release from Eric Geier, Community Relations Manager of MTA.

 

In late 2015 Metro stopped operating busses out of the Metro “Division 6” bus maintenance facility at Pacific and Main in Venice.  As a result, the Metro Board of Directors, through a motion by Directors Bonin and Keuhl, designated the land to be developed consistent with the agency’s Joint Development Policy. Before the Joint Development process may begin, Metro must complete environmental testing on the site, and is planning to start its next phase of work at Division 6 next week.

After the July 4th holiday weekend, Metro will remove underground storage tanks (USTs) along with the structures associated with them.  The first step in this process is to excavate and remove the concrete above the USTs, after which the USTs themselves will be loaded onto trucks for disposal at an offsite facility.  This work is anticipated to be completed in eight weeks, with environmental monitoring continuing following the tank removal in advance of the Joint Development Process.

In the meantime, Metro is collaborating with the Venice Chamber of Commerce, the National Veterans Foundation, and Director Bonin’s office to ensure that the POW/MIA memorial wall, which runs along the Pacific Avenue frontage of the Division 6 property and was recently damaged by graffiti, is restored and digitally archived to ensure its long-term durability. The Chamber and the Veteran’s Foundation are accepting donations to support this effort. 

 

 

What Impact Will STR Ordinance Have on Venice Rental Market?

Marie Hammond asked the question: What impact will the new Short-Term Rental (STR) ordinance, when operative, have on the Venice rental market? Hammond provided the AirBnB map showing 1500 units in Venice as of January 2016. The information also shows that the City Planning Commission considers Venice a focal point for the STR market. Will this put a glut of vacancies in Venice? Will the rents go down?

City Planning

Summer at the Venice Beach

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(Both photos anonymously submitted.)

Vera Davis Community Meet–Determine Future Use

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New York Times Talks of LA Skid Row; Mentions Venice

By Kevin “Kip” Pardue
This New York Times article was just sent my way…It’s an article looking deeply into the aging homeless population specifically in LA’s Skid Row. It highlights just how desperate and dire the situation is. Los Angeles is in a time of need.

There is a definite thread in Venice that those who are against supporting certain services in Venice are against homelessness and, therefore, are “pro-gentrification.” I can assure you that is not MY position nor the position of most of my friends and neighbors. Nearly everyone I encounter wants to help those in need by providing sensible housing in sensible locations. Handing out “coffee and soup,” providing places to nap, and an occasional shower are even criticized by the most destitute in this article.

From the outset, it has been my belief – and the belief of nearly everyone I speak with – that selling the Venice median parking lot would be the quickest and most efficient way to house those in need. The substantial money made from the sale could then immediately be used to mass-lease/convert existing housing to “housing for the homeless,” build on other (less valuable – these lots would not make the city as much money if sold) city-owned lots, and/or purchase land on which housing could be built.

Of course, there are several other arguments against the Venice median lot being used – it’s proximity to the Boardwalk and it’s temptations, the vast number of tourists who visit the area (and tend to give to panhandlers, further enabling the homeless), the influx of young families with children, density issues, Coastal Commission issues…These, however, sit well behind the fact that raising money and moving quickly to help the homeless should be the goal of the city.

This article also highlights something else: the difference in the homeless populations found in Venice and Skid Row. Without fail, every single person I encounter – long-time resident, pro-homeless, owner, renter, young, old – mentions the change in Venice’s homeless population. It is a younger, more aggressive, and less considerate group. It is a group that is often threatening and almost always “service-resistant.” This is yet another reason the “coffee and soup” model is broken in Venice. Creating a place for hand-out services at the Westminster Senior Center – also near the Boardwalk, families, and across the street from an elementary school – would only exacerbate an already terrible situation.

People will continue to say that emails like this are the equivalent of building walls. They will say the “new” Venice is heartless and less compassionate. There will be cries of gentrification. The people who cry this are often missing the point.

Helping the maximum amount of people in the safest, sanest, fastest way is the point.

Yes, housing for the homeless should be (and will continue to be) located in and around Venice – but not in the middle of an already busy area bustling with children and tourists. The new VCH building on Beach Ave is a great project (the cost of building is ridiculous and unsustainable in the future) for the area – a relatively small number of units (20) in a much-less-visited area close to industrial units and Lincoln (transportation, access to affordable goods, job possibilities). Others like this are possible and would be supported if presented.

There are those who need help in Venice and throughout LA. If the goal is to truly help them, stop policies that actively keep people on the streets and start raising funds immediately. The policies that are in place now are not working. We all see it everyday.

Still No Bridge at Jetty

Bridge

The Jetty, the area between Marina del Rey and Venice, where the ocean enters Marina del Rey and there still is no bridge. Yes, there use to be a bridge between Venice and Playa del Rey but that was removed years ago. Still people run into the fence and some go so far as to get wet but there is still no bridge planned to connect the two pieces of land.

Arnold Springer to Publish “History of Venice 1850 to 1939”

Longtime Venice activist and Venice office holder Arnold Springer said he would be releasing his “History of Venice 1850 to 1939” in three or four months. Release date will be forthcoming.

Springer was a history teacher at California State University at Long Beach before retiring from “academics and politics … national, regional and local. At CSULB he taught Russian History, European Intellectual History, Methodology and Philosophy of History, and Local History.

KCET did some filming of his Venice history in segments. One can see them at: https://www.kcet.org/shows/departures/dr-arnold-springer-venice-historian They start with Venice was an Estuary.

“In three our four months I should be ready to publish and release my History
of Venice of America 1850-1939. Right now I am proofreading and will let you know when it is available,” he wrote.

“It will be printed in a limited number of copies and distributed in Venice.
Initially. it will be distributed free to family and selected friends.

“After the initial free distribution has been completed, it will become
available at Small World of Books only in Venice, and the terms or price
there will be set by Mary Goodfader, owner of Small World.

“It will not be available online.

Apparently, Arnold has plans for more than just the initial book.

Book #2:
Materials for the Popular History of Venice
New Venice: Amusements: Vice: Curiosities.

Book #3:
Materials for the Ethnic History of Venice
Asians: Blacks: Native Americans: Mexicans: Jews: Russians.

Book #4:
Materials for the Monographic History of Venice
Art: Agriculture: Aviation: Canals: Politics.

Book #5:
Materials for the Monographic History of Venice
Radicals: Workers: Women: World War One:
Water: Sewers: Oil: Police: Individuals.

Additional Materials:
Abbot Kinney: To be released at a later date.

Arnolds said the manuscripts for the above and any additional materials that are not
published will, in the future, be housed/located at: Venice Collection,
Special Collections, Research Library, California State University Long
Beach.