Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Drain the Swamp, Mike, and Stop Attracting More Homeless to Venice

Over the last several years the VSA has documented home invasions and assaults on residents by the homeless.  

Two recent incidents underline that the councilman's initiatives - opening restrooms at night, allowing camping on the beach, not enforcing the ban on private possessions stored on the Boardwalk and along the beach, not enforcing the limit on possessions stored on sidewalks and parkways, not enforcing the ban on lying, sitting or sleeping between 6 am and 9 pm, not enforcing three foot ADA clearance on sidewalks, not declaring the Jones Settlement satisfied and returning to enforcement 24 hours-a-day of the ban on sleeping on a sidewalk, not funding the Homeless Task Force (the most effective service in Venice at getting homeless off the street), and unilaterally proceeding with conversion of the Westminster Center to storage - simply bring more transients to camp out in Venice and lead to more assaults.

Last weekend my neighbor Tony was socked in the eye by a crazed homeless man while he was innocently riding his bike on the bike path by the Rose Avenue parking lot. He was knocked to the ground and disoriented.  He made his way to the LAPD sub-station to make a report.  On the way he saw the fellow who had struck him.  He reported this to two officers at the sub-station who told him they were to too busy to take a report or to go out and arrest the perpetrator.

Then this morning this report from Sue Choi came in, underlying the magnet effect of the Westminster Center becoming storage for homeless possessions, and the dire result for one of our citizens.

Councilman Bonin,

I'd like to report a clear example of increased endangerment to our community directly attributable to the impending homeless storage project at the Westminster senior facility. As you know, this location is just across the street from the Westminster Elementary school and two preschools. Additionally, our block here on San Juan Ave. is home to 7 children under the age of 8 years.

This morning a worker sweeping the sidewalk was beaten and bloodied by a man who has moved onto our block to wait for the storage center to open.

For the past few days, this homeless man has been storing his belongings against a commercial building at San Juan Ave and Main St. He is new to the area and told my husband he is waiting for the storage facility to open. The police moved him off of Main St. and said he could store his stuff on San Juan Ave. A worker for that building cleans the San Juan sidewalk every morning and this morning, he was beaten by the homeless man with a broomstick. The worker was bleeding and believed his arm might be broken. The police took away the homeless man in cuffs and said they had received multiple calls about this man over the past few days.

Does it take blood to keep our residents and workers protected? A man who sweeps the sidewalk will be limited in his working capacity because a mentally unstable homeless man needs to store his belongings in a newly renovated structure? Something has gone wrong with the world when someone who does honest work for a living is beaten by a man who is given a pass to terrorize our neighborhood.

I have two requests for you:

1. Please advise how we keep this proven troublemaker off our street, because once he is released, he will be back for his free storage.

2. Please vote on Councilman Gilbert Cedillo's motion for a Safe School Zone.


Sue Choi

Friday, November 18, 2016

Need Help with a Homeless Encampment?

Last night at a meeting of the Del Rey Residents Association I met Donald Holt, the head of the Homeless Services Department of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. The department fields scores of Emergency Response Teams and Outreach Teams throughout LA County and City to provide direct service and housing placements for the homeless. 

He encourages the public to call him in the instance that your home or street is the unwelcome host to a homeless encampment or those living in vehicles. His office number is 213 225 6571, and his cell number is 213 910 3557. 

Since both sidewalk encampments and vehicle encampments generate trash and human waste, he recommends that in addition to calling him to get one of his teams to your problem area that you take a photo of the encampment (or vehicle(s)) and then use the City's 311 app to send the photo and address to the Bureau of Sanitation. Donald told me that his staff would coordinate their visit with Sanitation's clean-up.

Donald also agreed that until the City starts combining offers of housing with the nudge of enforcement of LAMC 41.18 (no sleeping on a sidewalk), all his teams can do is cajole homeless individuals to accept shelter.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

New Threat to Gay Neighbor on 3rd Street

From our neighbor John Frane in North Venice:

To drive home exactly who the city is allowing to live in our community and is building facilities for on 3rd Street at Rose:

As I was walking past Gusta yesterday at 11am on a sunny Saturday morning, just a little over a block from where me and my partner live, a homeless man suddenly rushed up to me and thrust his middle finger in my face and said 'fucking faggot, you're the faggot we beat up last year, and you better watch it faggot we know where you live!' 
And then raced off to the mess of the 3rd Street encampment. I was stunned, shocked, and terrified. 
Twenty-four hours later the whole thing seems surreal, happy couples getting lunch at Gusta, people headed to Gold's for a workout, while at the intersection of 3rd and Sunset I'm being gay bashed and physically threatened. And going through my head is the fact that the city is in the process of giving people like this a permanent home in my community. I will now fear every time I go to Gold's gym or head over to Gusta for a sandwich that this guy is watching me, this guy may come at me again, and maybe this guy will decide to follow me home.

As some of you on this string may recall, I was assaulted as my partner and I walked our dogs down 3rd less than a year ago.
In my 25 years of living on the west side of Los Angeles I had never been physically or verbally threatened for my sexuality, yet now, twice in less than a year, one block from our home, this has happened by the homeless occupiers on 3rd.

The city and Mike Bonin condone and facilitate these people living in our midst and threatening our way of life, our values, and our very existence.

The people we put in power, the people we pay tens of thousands of dollars in taxes to, do nothing to protect us, and in fact take our resources to facilitate the occupation of our neighborhood by people that threaten and assault us.

Mike, I call on you not as a fellow gay man (although I assume you have felt the same fear of such threats in your own life), but as an elected official who is responsible for your constituents' safety. I ask you to responsibly and quickly address the homeless situation in Venice and to responsibly spread the resources of the city not only in addressing the short-term issues of safety, but the long-term issues of the distribution of homeless solutions across the entire city, not predominantly in Venice at the expense of the life and safety of the citizens who live here for your own political expediency.
I've had to live in some rough neighborhoods in my life, but never in my life have I been so scared to walk out my own front door.  Please do more and please do it now, before I or someone else gets really hurt.

John Frane