Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Alleged Dirty Tricks by Mayoral Staffer

The Venice Stakeholders Association today sent a letter to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa calling for an investigation into claims on the website Yo!Venice! that the Mayor’s Associate Director of Transportation, Jim Bickhart, has repeatedly posted hostile and hateful comments on the website under a pseudonym in an effort to discredit Venice Stakeholders and those who support overnight restricted parking in Venice.

“By attributing these highly negative sentiments concerning those who live in vehicles to “the Stakeholders” these posts are a calculated attempt to paint us – and all of our supporters - as hateful and callous,” said Mark Ryavec, president of the VSA. Ryavec noted that he earlier co-chaired a community committee that recommended a “Vehicle to Housing” transition program to relocate vehicle dwellers to remote parking lots and to provide them services.

“Our group has never engaged in the type of hostile name calling that it appears Mr. Bickhart has attributed to us,” Ryavec said.

“This is an ugly escalation in the community debate on this issue,” Ryavec said, “and is inappropriate for any public official.”

The editor of Yo!Venice! has called on-line for Bickhart to claim or deny he indeed is the author of the posts. There has been no reply from Bickhart.

The VSA letter concludes:

“If these posts were indeed made by Mr. Bickhart, we question his suitability for a position of public trust. If he wrote it and believes what he wrote, in our opinion he does not belong in public service. If, on the other hand, he wrote it but does not believe what he wrote, and propagated these remarks to discredit our group (and Yo!Venice! and others who support overnight restricted parking), then his behavior amounts to a political dirty trick, which is intolerable in a public official.”

Attachment: Letter to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

Friday, November 19, 2010

Oversize Vehicle Ordinance Advances

Residents on Over 60 Blocks Sign-Up for the 2 AM to 6 AM Parking Restrictions

View Larger Map

On Wednesday, November 17th, the Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance to implement in Venice the City’s new Oversize Vehicle restrictions.

The ordinance allows residents to petition to erect signs on their block to ban vehicles over 22 feet long or 7 feet tall from the hours of 2 AM to 6 AM in the areas of Venice west of Lincoln Boulevard.

The VSA also announced that residents of over 60 blocks have turned in petitions, which have been approved by the council office. The petitions have been sent to the Department of Transportation for installation of the signs, pending the Mayor’s approval of the implementing ordinance. The street segments covered by the petitions are the most impacted areas in the Venice community. (See map above)

“We are pleased to finally see some progress on the implementation of this ordinance. It should free up parking for residents and remove these vehicles, which have a long history of dumping trash and human waste on our streets and into the storm drains,” said Mark Ryavec, the president of the VSA.

Ryavec noted that Venice Stakeholders asked over a year ago for the City to amend the language of the Oversize Vehicle Ordinance to change the word “and” to “or” so that it would capture large vehicles that are either over 22 feet long or over 7 feet tall.

Ryavec said that the new signs will only deal with part of the problem residents face with the over 250 vehicles used as living quarters in Venice. “Some of the vehicles are less than 7 feet tall, so they will be exempt. Also, the City Attorney has tentatively decided that those vehicles with handicapped placards or license plates may be exempt from the ordinance, so they are advising the LAPD not to cite them for the time being.”

“We still need to pursue our lawsuit against the Coastal Commission to win the right for overnight restricted parking for residents and we will need the LAPD to aggressively enforce the ban (LAMC 85.02) on using vehicles as living quarters,” Ryavec said.

The map above shows the status of Over-height Vehicle Overnight (OVO) parking restrictions petitions that we are aware. Completed street segments accepted by the council office are listed in red.

If you would like to know about a particular street segment send us a comment using the comment box on the lower right of this web page. We will try to hook people up who are interested in gathering petitions on a particular street segment. If you submitted your petition and do not see your street marked on our map, also please let us know.

NOTE: some segments may only cover one side of a street segment.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Finding Residences for a Street Segment

I've attached a picture with instructions for obtaining the legal address and number of units at properties along a street segment. This can help you know in advance the total count of residences for a street segment with some certainty. The county assessors web site is: http://maps.assessor.lacounty.gov/

Just download a blank OVO petition and you can get started collecting signatures. Please make a photo copy of your petition before submitting it to the city. You can also email us if you have questions about whether anyone else is gathering signatures for a given street.