Thursday, April 23, 2015

Never a dull moment in Venice....

In Venice we have 741 homeless individuals living on our streets and in our parks, many of whom are mentally unstable and/or drug addicted, we have home invasions, car break-ins, and assaults on residents, and this is what gets media attention:

http://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/2015/04/23/42534/venice-considers-letting-women-sunbathers-go-tople/

Sunday, April 5, 2015

VSA Opposes SB 608, the So-called "Right to Rest" Bill

The VSA has submitted the letter below to the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee opposing SB 608.

Venice Stakeholders Association

                                                                                                            April 6, 2015                                                            
Senator Jim Beall
Chair, Senate Transportation and Housing Committee
Members, Senate Transportation and Housing Committee
State Capitol, Sacramento, CA  95814

Re:  Opposition to Senate Bill 608 (Senator Carol Liu)


Dear Senator Beall, dear Members of the Committee:

I am writing on behalf of our organization to urge you to reject Senate Bill 608, the so-called “Right to Rest” bill.

The Venice Stakeholders Association is composed of residents in Venice, California, dedicated to improving neighborhood safety in our beach community.

We led the effort to remove over 250 RVs and campers from our community that previously occupied the curbs in front of our residences on a full-time basis, with all the problems attendant to the use of residential streets as an urban campground.

We recently sued the City and County of Los Angeles for maintaining a dangerous public nuisance along the Venice Beach Recreation Area, which resulted from the City and County’s failure to enforce the Beach Curfew and the ban on camping in City parks.  We also have lobbied for the reinstatement of enforcement of the City’s ordinance banning lying, sitting, sleeping on public rights-of-way.

Our opposition to SB 608 is driven by the irrefutable evidence that within transient populations are individuals who are mentally ill, criminally prone, drug addled and tragically, on occasion, violent and/or lethal.

Due to the ill-advised Jones settlement and its limit on the Los Angeles Police Department’s ability to enforce the “No lying, sitting, sleeping” ordinance in Los Angeles between the hours of 9 PM and 6 AM, we have seen a dramatic increase in the transient population living on our streets and alleys in close proximity to residences.  This has been accompanied by a serious increase in crime, assaults and home invasions, with horrifying results.

As documented in the on-line exhibits, the six block area around my residence has experienced five home invasions since last April by transients living on public property in Venice

The Venice Stakeholders Association is dedicated to civic improvement.  The VSA supports slow growth, protection of the limits of the Venice Specific Plan, neighborhood safety, better traffic circulation, increased parking for residents,
neighborhood beautification projects, historic preservation, habitat restoration and protection of coastal waters.


VSA Opposition to SB 608….page 2

In one incident a homeless man dove through a glass door of a duplex at 4:30 a.m., made his way to the upstairs bathroom and tore two bolted sinks off the wall, spattering the room with blood. The tenants – a young mother and her children – escaped down a back staircase and called 911. Police later told the mother that the intruder’s Hulk-like strength suggested he was high on PCP.  Before the break-in neighbors had called LAPD to complain about a man shouting hysterically on their street, but since he’d done nothing more than that, the police did not even send a patrol car to investigate.

In another widely publicized home invasion last September, a deranged homeless man broke down the door of a home just before 9 a.m., and chased a half-dressed woman out her bedroom window and onto her roof. Again, LAPD missed a chance to prevent this. Just 30 minutes earlier, the intruder was in police handcuffs being questioned about yelling in public and attempting to climb the fence of an adjoining property. Yet the police, having been effectively neutered by homeless advocates and the courts, let him go because they had not caught him in the act of committing a crime.

Allowing transients greater rights to live right next to residences will only result in more harm to more residents, such as the rape and murder of the pregnant Ms. Eun Kang four blocks from my house by the mentally ill drifter Boneetio Washington, the assault on Robert Di Massa by a transient living on a walk street because Di Massa’s service dog had urinated nearby, or the recent incident in which a transient living on the streets in Venice bit off the fingertip of Clabe Hartley, the owner of a restaurant on Washington Boulevard.

SB 608 offers no increase in welfare benefits, no housing, no counseling, no transportation, no treatment and no more ease in committing mentally ill homeless to custody, so it does nothing to address the fundamental problems of the homeless, while assuring future harm to residents everywhere in the state.

Please reject this misguided proposal.  Thank you for your consideration.  

Sincerely yours,
Mark Ryavec
Mark Ryavec, President

Exhibits: 

1.  http://www.venicestakeholdersassociation.org/2015/01/anatomy-of-attack-on-venice-resident.html
2.  http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2015/02/03/familys-narrow-escape-from-      venice-home-invasion-sheds-light-on-public-safety-concerns/
3.  http://www.venicestakeholdersassociation.org/2014/12/reports-of-two-more-home-invasions-in.html
4.  http://www.venicestakeholdersassociation.org/2015/02/five-terrifying-home-invasions-in-10.html
5.  http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-ryavec-homeless-laws-sb-608-20150308-story.html

Friday, April 3, 2015

From Yo!Venice's First Print Edition: Is Charlie Beck a Climate-Change Denier?

Is Charlie Beck a Climate-Change Denier?

MARK RYAVEC
Yo! Venice Contributor




Do you think the LAPD should implement demand staffing that automatically 
puts additional officers in Venice when the temperature is predicted to go 
over 74 degrees?                             






PHOTO BY VENICEPAPARAZZI.COM

This might appear to be an odd question, but it
has significant implications for the safety of residents
and visitors in Venice.

Anyone who has lived here for the last three
decades, as I have, knows that the weather we have
been having is bizarre. Cool and rainy is the historical
weather in winter and early spring. But since
Jan. 1 we have had 18 days above 77 degrees and 10
days above 84 degrees. We hit 93 on March 14.

These conditions draw many of Los Angeles
County’s 10 million residents to the beach to cool
off, and a good proportion of them come to Venice.
Estimates range from 11 to 16 million visitors
annually. This causes a severe strain on public
safety, one that is apparently not understood at the
highest levels of the Los Angeles Police Department. 

 It appears that Chief Charlie Beck and his
management team do not accept that climate patterns
have changed and that visitor flow to Venice
has increased with it.

Two LAPD officers recently told me that on
these very hot days they are “slammed” and cannot
keep up with the situation. The huge increase in
visitors requires that they focus on gang suppression,
traffic violations, accidents, an increase in
crime, more radio calls, etc.

This distracts them from enforcing quality-of-life
ordinances that are important to residents, like
the ban on open alcohol containers in public,
harassment of residents, trespass on private property,
public defecation and urination, drug dealing,
illegal camping along Venice Beach and total
blockage of sidewalks by transient encampments, a
violation of the American with Disabilities Act.
This is because enforcing these laws will usually
take two officers off the beach for at least half a day
to transport and book the offenders. The Beach
Detail commander and officers have told me that
officers cannot in good conscience be absent from
Venice when the visitor numbers skyrocket.

The LAPD focus on visitors has other ramifications.
For example, a plan to fully enforce the 12-
5 am Beach Curfew and the ban on camping in the
Venice Beach Recreation Area – including an
LAPD presence in the Venice Beach Recreation
Area (VBRA) at 4 am – is on hold due to the diversion
of staffing to daytime hours. The result is that
the VBRA continues to be a powerful magnet for
transients from across the nation, including a percentage
of criminals, mentally ill and the drug-addled.

On a recent stroll along Venice Beach at
5 am I counted at least 26 people camping in tents,
lean-tos or out in the open in sleeping bags. (Due to
the poor lighting there may have been many more
that I could not see.) It only takes one of these disaffected
transients in a drugged-out state to lose it
and someone gets hurt or killed, as we saw with the
vehicle assault that left Italian newlywed Alice
Gruppioni dead and 16 people injured on the
Boardwalk less than two years ago. And as we witnessed
just recently when a transient bit off the tip
of the finger of Clabe Harley, the owner of the
Cow’s End restaurant on Washington Boulevard.
The transient had been harassing Harley’s customers.
When Harley moved in to defend his customers,
the transient attacked him – with his teeth.

As many Venetians know, Venice receives a
summer compliment of about 35 additional officers
starting with Memorial Day. (Some years ago,
when there were several incidents of gang-related
violence on the Boardwalk, the number was
higher). The purpose of the additional officers is to
cope with the huge increase in visitors drawn by
warmer weather and school vacations. And to prevent
gang conflicts that can quickly careen out of
control and cause harm to innocent bystanders.
With the very hot temperatures we’ve been
seeing, the LAPD should have followed the crowds
and implemented demand staffing that automatically
put additional officers in Venice when the
temperature is predicted to go over 74 degrees.

Captain Nicole Alberca, the new commander
of Pacific Division, told me recently that she had
requested additional staffing for hot days but been
told by LAPD headquarters to find the officers by
reassigning within Pacific Division. But the visitors
are largely from other parts of Los Angeles or the
County’s other 87 cities, not from just Pacific Division.
If the increased summer staffing is to address
the increase in visitors than logically Venice
deserves the increase whenever the temps go over
74 degrees. There is even a good argument that
County sheriffs should also be posted here since a
large number of visitors are not from the City of
Los Angeles but rather from other cities in the
County of Los Angeles or from points farther
away.

Captain Alberca acknowledged that when
thousands of our inland neighbors seek relief in
Venice from extreme temperatures, the LAPD
presence is very thin in comparison with the size of
the crowds and that attention to resident concerns
suffers.

We have long passed the time that City and
County leaders should have realized that Venice is
the most popular, free recreational destination in
Southern California and that it requires significantly
more police resources from both the City and
County whenever temperatures go up, which is
now happening more frequently due to climate
change.



Saturday, March 28, 2015

New Attack on Young Woman Outside the Townhouse on Windward

The lawless, "Lord of the Flies" atmosphere at Venice Beach claims another victim:

http://abc7.com/news/woman-beaten-with-skateboards-fists-in-venice-/578580/

One week a restaurateur has his fingertip bitten off by a transient, then a couple nights later sees three victims, a young woman in her late teens and two men, attacked in the street on Windward Avenue at Speedway.

The woman was hit over the head with a skateboard.

In videos circulating on social media and seen on news channels, an angry mob is seen rushing at the woman, one man hitting her as she lies helpless and screaming on the ground.

A witness can be heard on the video saying, "She just cracked her head open."


The young woman underwent surgery. Her jaw was broken and skull cracked. She is in a serious condition.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Saturday, March 7, 2015

LA Times: As Homeless Get More Liberties, Residents Suffer

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-ryavec-homeless-laws-sb-608-20150308-story.html

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Five terrifying home invasions in 10 months underscore the dangerous reality facing Venice Beach residents

http://argonautnews.com/power-to-speak-transient-related-crime-is-no-exaggeration/

By Mark Ryavec

(In response to “Venice Needs More Cops,” news, Jan. 22; and “Homelessness and the Big Lie,” opinion, Jan. 15)

As a concerned resident living near the Venice boardwalk, I have to ask: Have five home invasions happened since April in any other six-block area of Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin’s district?

In his letter to Police Chief Charles Beck, Bonin agreed with the Venice Stakeholders Association’s lawsuit that Venice is fundamentally unsafe and under-policed. He has asked for more officers and that they be permanently stationed here so they can learn our unique conditions: a coastal park and major tourist destination next to a predominantly residential community with a large, problematic and occasionally dangerous transient population.

Bravo Mike! Better late than never.

The dangerous reality our councilman painted in his letter to Beck has been underscored in my immediate neighborhood, four blocks from Ocean Front Walk, by five home invasions since April committed by transients camping in or near the Venice Beach Recreation Area.

The first saw a drug-fueled beach dweller dive through a glass door on Horizon Avenue at 4:30 a.m. on April 8 and climb the stairs to the tenant’s apartment, dripping blood along his path. He proceeded to the bathroom where he tore two bolted sinks off the wall and was found, 25 minutes after the victim called 911, wrestling on the floor with the shower curtain. Neighbors had called LAPD prior to the break-in complaining about a hysterical and loud person on their street. The police dispatcher asked if he had done anything other than being loud and obnoxious, and the neighbors had to respond “no.”  The LAPD did not send a patrol car at that time, which could have prevented the traumatic experience the young mother and children had to endure, running for their lives down the back stairs, then to a neighbor’s across the street, and later having to face their blood-covered home.

The second was the now internationally famous Sept. 26 break-in on Riviera Avenue, where the drugged-out intruder (some 30 minutes earlier in police handcuffs being questioned on the street, according to a neighbor) forced a young actress out under her roof eave in her sleepwear, where she called police. Her precarious position was photographed by a passing neighbor, which went viral on the Internet.  After a 40-minute standoff, with the police below and the half-naked woman cowering on the roof, firefighters arrived and helped the woman to escape down a ladder.

The other three incidents were equally terrifying to the victims.

Two young men broke into a residence on Grand Boulevard in the middle of the night on July 18 while the young couple and their very small children were asleep, the mother told me.

On Oct. 4 on Rialto Avenue, neighbors rallied to defend a young woman screaming that someone had broken into her home in broad daylight and moved toward her with hands raised.

A young actor and his pregnant wife on Venice Boulevard were awakened in the middle of the night on Nov. 29 by an addled young woman, known to the police, who had climbed their fence and broken in.

On these pages a columnist recently suggested that I and others are exaggerating the threat from the large transient population in Venice. I would challenge anyone questioning the danger Venice residents currently face to talk to any of these residents to understand the fear they live in. The young mother in the first episode above now lives in Santa Monica behind three locked doors.

Maybe this is what the columnist meant when she wrote that “People come to Venice to be changed by Venice, not to change Venice.” This young woman and her oldest child, who was old enough to know the danger they were in, are certainly changed; they now live in fear.

This shibboleth, that those who choose to live in Venice must not try to change it, is fundamentally undemocratic.

I was born in Santa Monica, but my father’s career in the Navy sent us out-of-state for 11 years. When we returned in 1961, residents had a choice of voting in local elections for either conservative Republicans or the even more conservative John Birchers. Fast-forward to the construction of the Santa Monica Freeway bringing thousands of new apartment units and their far more liberal inhabitants. In 30 years Santa Monica went from far-right to the People’s Republic of Santa Monica.

Just as the new renters in Santa Monica many years ago had the right to exercise their political values, the newcomers to Venice — frequently families with young children — have every right to demand a safe environment.

Also, after 28 years in Venice it’s ludicrous for anyone to contend that I’m a newcomer or that I should just bend over and accept the filth, crime and danger that frequents the boardwalk and its surroundings.

The trend in Venice is on the side of those who demand public safety. Those who dream of the Venice of 1970 may be the ones who should think of moving on. Check the calendar: It’s 2015 and your time is up.


Mark Ryavec is president of the Venice Stakeholders Association.