Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Please Support Maintaining the Venice Beach 12-5AM Closure Policy

Please support the continuation of the closure of Venice Beach and Boardwalk 12-5 AM for reasons of public safety.

The City has foolishly decided to file for a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) to maintain its decades-old park closure policy from 12 to 5 AM.  This is an exposure the City should not risk as closing the beach at any time is well within the exercise of its inherent police powers; e.g., the Los Angeles County Lifeguards did not get a CDP to close the beach last year during lightening storms that threatened to electrocute anyone out on the beach.

In the first step in the CDP process, the Rec. and Parks Department applied for a City CDP to the City's Board of Public Works, which was granted.  Now, the usual suspects, which include the head of the Venice Family Clinic and other homeless advocates who filed the earlier lawsuit that led to the City filing for the CDP, have filed an appeal which will be heard this Friday before the Los Angeles City Board of Public Works (DPW).

Fortunately, DPW staff at this point has recommended denying the appeal and maintaining the beach closures at night on all of LA's beaches.

To support the CDP for the beach closure policy please send a simple message, such as:

I support the City 12-5 AM Beach Park Closure Ordinance.  I urge you to deny the appeal of the Coastal Development Permit for the Beach Park Closure Ordinance.

Send it to:  fernando.campos@lacity.org and norman.mundy@lacity.org

Send copies to:   mike.bonin@lacity.org and debbie.dynerharris@lacity.org

The Board agenda is here:   http://ens.lacity.org/bpw/agendas/bpwagendas86117942 01192018.htm

 The staff report is here:  http://boe.lacity.org/docs/dpw/agendas/2018/201801/2018019/boe/20180119 ag br boe 1.pdf

Thanks and best wishes to you and yours for the New Year.

Mark Ryavec

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Top 10 Reasons Los Angeles Homelessness Will Soar Again in 2018

   1) Average cost to build a SINGLE UNIT of “supportive housing” for L.A.’s homeless: $421,433
   

   2) Cost to BUY a 1-bedroom CONDO in Westlake, or a 4-bedroom HOME in Riverside: $421,000

   3) Number of homeless units built under Mayor Garcetti with $1.2 billion in HHH bonds: ZERO


   4) Cash spent by developers in 2017 to influence the City Council, mayor & officials to build MORE luxury housing: $4.8 million


   5) Skid Row’s average rent after the City Council gentrified the area for urban hipsters: $1,900/mo.


  6) Of 20 new residential towers slated for South Park DTLA, number that offer affordable units – TWO


  7) Affordable units planned for Westfield Promenade’s 1,400-unit mega-project in the Valley:  ZERO


  8) Number of households evicted by L.A. landlords so they could  jack up rents in 2017: 1,200


  9) Number of affordable bungalows & units razed by L.A. developers in 2017: “City Hall doesn’t keep track.” 


 10) Number of toilets Garcetti opened for 1,800 homeless people on Skid Row in 2017:  EIGHT 


Source: The Coalition to Preseve LA

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Preventing Future Fires in LA's Bluffs and Canyons



This is my reply to Carissa Ashley Tedesco’s post on the Venice Community FB page:
“They just announced that the Skirball fire was caused by an illegal cooking fire at a homeless encampment. Venice would’ve been burned down 1000 times over if we had trees and brush. All those devastated lives. It just enrages me.”

Carissa, thank you for your original post. The City has been aware of the potential for such a fire for years but has not brought the resources to bare to prevent it. A year or two ago we saw a fire in the Palisades Bluffs started from a homeless encampment. Fortunately, there was little wind and the LAFD was on it quickly and kept it from coming up the bluffs and igniting the homes atop the bluff. Since then there has been some attention to keeping people from living in the bluffs and canyons but not at zero tolerance level, which is what is needed. Garcetti was rather glib, saying that the City just could not protect against every eventuality, in effect saying that it was OK with him for residents to live with the risk of the loss of their homes and possibly their lives. This is not to mention the high cost to the City from such a fire as we just saw in Bel Air. We have seen the danger here in Venice, too. Last year a homeless woman lit a fire in a dumpster behind the St. Joseph Center's drop-in center on Lincoln. The fire spread and the smoke engulfed the house next to the alley. The pregnant resident was told by the EMT's that for her health and the health of her unborn child that she must evacuate the house for several days to avoid the smoke. Residents near the center have long requested 24-hour security because the homeless do not leave the area when the center closes for the evening. Of course, St. Joseph's has never responded. The City's acceptance of homeless encampments next to residences is perverse. Rick Swinger's proposal to establish camps of high-quality tents, with adjoining toilets and showers, on public land at some set-back from residences and businesses, with constant social service presence, is long overdue. Along with daily removal of campers from public lands which are at risk for fire. Measure H will produce $335 million a year for services. The County should spend a percentage on rapid housing, including motel vouchers, family reunification and high-quality tents on platforms, like Rick has proposed. Accepting the fire risk, as Garcetti and Bonin do, is grossly irresponsible.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Letter to the Los Angeles Times

From the Letters to the Editor of the Los Angeles Times today:

Singling out Venice Beach

Re: Hep A on the beaches

Los Angeles faces two real crises: the largest homeless population in the nation and a Hepatitis A outbreak. To deal with it, Conor Friedersdorf calls for opening up public restrooms in one community — Venice.

As I would have informed him had he called me instead of citing a two-year-old quote, he is missing the big picture.

Camping is banned in almost all of Los Angeles’ parks, including on beaches. No camping should lead to no campers, thus no need for restrooms late at night.

If the city will not honor the camping ban in all its parks, then it should open all of them to camping and keep the restrooms open all day and night. This would include, for example, camping in the park next to City Hall, with 24-hour access to ground-floor restrooms.

I doubt The Times would welcome the return of an Occupy L.A.-style encampment across the street from its downtown headquarters any more than the residents of Venice want a return to the noxious behaviors that inevitably occur with opening up the restrooms along Venice Beach at night.

Mark Ryavec, Venice

Friday, October 27, 2017

Please Sign the Petition to Oppose the Ordinance that Willl Remove Environmwental Reviews of Public Supportive Housing (PSH) Projects

Please sign the petition at:

www.fightbackvenice.org/be-heard-psh-opposition.

The proposed PSH ordinance will exempt big-density housing projects -- including the proposed 2-acre homeless project in the Oxford Triangle and other projects such as the Venice Median project and the project proposed for the Metro lot on Main Street - from zoning approvals, size and density restrictions, parking requirements, and environmental review, stripping communities of any say in these matters.

This is anti-democratic and reckless - especially in an area as congested and susceptible to environmental risks (liquafaction, tsunami, earthquake faults and rising sea levels) as Venice.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Please Contribute Funds to VSA's Public Nuisance Lawsuit

We are appealing our lawsuit against the City and County for maintaining a dangerous and sordid public nuisance along the Boardwalk and Venice's beachfront.

We know the City and County are capable of keeping the Venice Beach Recreation Area clean of debris and personal possessions; just look at the pristine park next to LA's City Hall or the parks in Marina del Rey, which are controlled by the County of Los Angeles.

We are a few thousand dollars short of meeting the full retainer of our attorney, Venice resident and veteran appeals counsel Jonathan Deer.  Jon is handling our appeal for a modest, fixed price because he lives here and is committed to helping us clean up the beach. 

Please contribute $50 to $500 to the VSA, earmarked for Public Nuisance Lawsuit.  Donations may be made on this page by credit card, or by check to 1615 Andalusia Avenue, Venice, CA  90291.

Many thanks for helping make Venice a safer place, for residents and visitors alike.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

VSA Public Nuisance Lawsuit Against City and County for Dangerous Conditions on Boardwalk Goes Forward

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

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


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

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

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