Sunday, July 23, 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017

Support Restoration of Third Lanes on Venice Boulevard

If you'd like to support restoration of the third lanes on Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista, click on this link to get a lawn sign and make a donation:

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Support Legal Effort to Clean-Up Venice Boardwalk

As many Venice residents know, the VSA sued the City and County of Los Angeles a few years ago for maintaining a dangerous public nuisance along the Venice Boardwalk and beach.

At first we prevailed against the City and County. Then we lost an appeal and have appealed the case ourselves.

The Court has taken almost a year to prepare the legal record of the case and is about to release it to our attorney, Jonathan Deer, a veteran appeals attorney and Venice resident.

However, the Court is holding the record hostage for reimbursement of their costs in staff time and duplicating of documents.

So, we are turning once again to residents to help underwrite the $1,700 cost of the record.

Our legal theory is that the City routinely brings suits against drug dens and other public nuisances to force the owners to abate the crime that emanates from those properties or to compensate residents for the burdens they experience from the noxious affects from the property - think of noise and smells, for example, effects which have won other residents damage awards.

We are not seeking damage awards but rather the end of the crime and noise that ripple out from the publicly-owned Venice Beach Recreation Area.

Please help us by making a contribution of $100 or more to allow us to continue our effort to make Venice safer for residents and visitors alike. Contributions may be made on this page by PayPal or mailed to Venice Stakeholders at 1615 Andalusia Avenue, Venice, CA  90291.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mark Vargas Is Not a Friend of Venice Residents

Scott Mayer, an institution all by himself among local Democratic Party activists, is holding a fundraiser for Coastal Commissioner Mark Vargas, who is running for an assembly seat in downtown Los Angeles.  So, I'd like to remind residents of Mr. Vargas' history of disrespect for our community.

As many will remember, the Venice Stakeholders Association sued the Coastal Commission when it rejected Venice's right to set up overnight restricted permit parking (OPDs) for residents.  The application for a Coastal Development Permit for OPDs was recommended for approval three times by Commission staff and three times it was disapproved by the Commission itself.  On the third and last occasion it was Mark Vargas who led the Commission in rejecting the compromise reached with Commission staff.

Mr. Vargas complained at the time that it would be a terrible burden for him (a non-Venice resident) to have to move his car at 2 AM after an evening of heavy drinking at Hal's.  He suggested it might be unsafe for him to drive and that he should be allowed to leave his car (occupying sorely needed resident parking) and take a taxi home.  Once Vargas spoke up, the other commissioners took his lead.

It was on these substantive grounds - Mark Vargas's drinking and driving behavior - that Venice OPDs were defeated.

Our lobbyist told me that Vargas took his marching orders from Mike Bonin despite Bill Rosendahl still being the councilperson and a supporter of Venice OPDs.  Apparently Mr. Vargas works (or worked) with Mr. Bonin's husband.

As Venice residents still struggle with people living in vehicles on their front curbs, they can thank Mr. Vargas.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Fill-Out the Official City Survey on Venice Boulevard Changes

Here is a direct link to a survey where you can VOICE YOUR OPPOSITION to the loss of a lane in each direction on Venice Boulevard. Bonin has buried it in a corner of his website in an attempt to avoid community comments. 

If you are against this change PLEASE fill this out:

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Please Sign the Petition to Return Venice Blvd. to Three Lanes Each Way in Mar Vista

The recent reconfiguration of Venice Blvd., which removed one lane in each direction in Mar Vista, is a well intentioned project poorly implemented. By utilizing a modest potion of curb and parkway the Dept. of Transportation could have maintained three lanes and accomplished their goal of moving the bike lane between the parked cars and sidewalk to make bike riding safer. It should be reconfigured as soon as possible to remove this choke-point on Venice Blvd.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Venice Activist Assaulted by Homeless Camper, Arm Broken

Rick Swinger
Venice activist Rick Swinger was assaulted by a homeless camper on Rose Avenue the morning of Thursday, May 18th, which resulted in Rick being knocked to the ground and his arm broken.  This is yet another in a long series of attacks on Venice residents by transients living on Venice's streets, sidewalks and parks.

Rick cautions Venice residents that the man who assaulted him is very combative and has been seen twice since the attack around the Full Circle Church property next to Rick's apartment at the corner of Rose and Hampton.

"My wife and I are afraid for our lives at this point," Rick said in the aftermath of the attack.

The attacker is white, about 200 pounds, around 50 with dark brown hair and beard.  Rick first noticed him in late April when he took to sitting on the picnic table on the front patio of the church next door and using a metal electric panel enclosure as storage for his possessions.  Rick said, "He even has his own lock for the panel door."

The attacker has frequently awakened Rick and his wife during the night.  Rick had previously attempted to engage the fellow in friendly conversation, but the camper became quickly agitated and threatening.

On the morning of the assault Rick and his wife were awakened at 4:30 AM by the man yelling while sitting at the picnic table on the church patio.  Rick went over to the church property to ask him quiet down.  To protect himself, Rick carried a can of pepper spray held behind his back.   As soon as Rick explained to the man that people were trying to sleep next door the fellow lunged at Rick, so he sprayed him with the pepper spray and started to walk back to his apartment.  The homeless camper was barely affected by the spray and pursued Rick.  Rick, now on the sidewalk, turned and sprayed the attacker in the face, but this did not stop the attacker from knocking Rick to ground.  In the fall, Rick's arm was broken.  

Rick's broken and battered arm.

He called out to his wife who ran over and helped Rick to his feet and back into the apartment.  His attacker was also down on the sidewalk, finally slowed down by the pepper spray.  After calling 911 they got in their car and started to head off to Brotman Hospital where Rick's wife is a nurse.  As they were leaving an LAPD patrol car arrived and the officers agreed to follow Rick and his wife to the hospital to fill out a police report on the incident.  (The attacker had left the site by then.)

Rick reports that he saw his attacker come back to get stuff out of the electric panel enclosure later that day and has seen him in the area on two more occasions.  Each time he called the LAPD but they did not arrive in time to catch the guy.

Rick had earlier taken a photo of the fellow because he found him erratic, loud and menacing.  After he gave the photo to the LAPD, one of the Beach Patrol officers told Rick that he knew of him.  As of this posting, the attacker has not been arrested.  Rick's request to church staff for them to put their own lock on the electric panel box to stop its use as storage space and to remove the picnic table, which is a homeless magnet, have gone without response.


Rick has been leading the effort to force the City and Public Storage to stop all the dumping of toxic materials around Third and Rose, which drain directly to a pool on the beach where the storm drain empties.  The City is remiss in not posting signs to warn children not to play in the polluted water.