Thursday, October 30, 2014

Venice Stakeholders Association and Residents File Lawsuit against the City and County of Los Angeles for Dangerous Conditions and Public Nuisance at Venice Beach

After years of having public safety and health concerns ignored, the Venice Stakeholders Association and individual residents today filed a lawsuit against the City and County of Los Angeles for their maintenance of a public nuisance and dangerous conditions along the Venice Boardwalk and beach that deprive residents of the quiet and safe enjoyment of their homes and the Venice community of the safe use of the Venice Beach Recreation Area.

“It has long been evident that the City and County enforce “no camping” laws in all of their parks except the Venice Beach Recreation Area,” said Mark Ryavec, president of the neighborhood association.  “One look at the pristine condition of the park next to City Hall or Grand Park next to the Hall of Administration shows the unequal treatment Venice has received.”

“It is only at the Venice Beach Recreation Area and on adjoining streets that a lawless Skid Row encampment, open drug sales and use, loud late-night noise, and public inebriation, urination and defecation is routinely permitted,” Ryavec said.  “This is not tolerated elsewhere in Los Angeles or in other beach cities along Santa Monica Bay.”

“Since City and County officials and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority have not replied to our many requests to clean up the park and beach, we had no choice but to bring this lawsuit.”

“The stakes are very high,” Ryavec said.  “This lawless environment spawns deadly behavior – for example, the killing of a young Italian visitor who was run down on the Boardwalk by a meth-addicted transient in his car in the summer of 2013. Or the recent home invasion that forced a young woman out onto the rooftop of her house to escape a transient who had broken in. 

“The lack of enforcement of existing laws makes the hundreds of campers living along Venice Beach feel they can do anything they want with impunity.  The result is that harassment, intimidation, trespass, vandalism, home invasions, and burglaries are common.”

Rob Glushon, the attorney for the VSA and individual plaintiffs Gary Harris, Jack Hoffmann, Arthur Kraus, David Krintzman and Brad Neal, said, “California law requires all property owners to maintain their property in a manner that does not cause harm and danger to others.  Both the City and County need to take action to abate the intolerable conditions at Venice Beach, which are a serious threat to public health and safety.”

Contact:  Mark Ryavec at 310 871 6265