Saturday, January 28, 2017

Calling All Volunteers!

The principal of Westminster Elementary School 
is recruiting volunteers to help 
paint the classroom doors at the school.

Saturday, February 4th, 2017    

9:00 am  –  3:00 pm       

       Please wear appropriate clothing.           

Snacks, drinks, and all supplies provided.

Parking is available on the school playground 
(enter off of Main Street).

 RSVP to Barry Cohen at

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

City’s New Vehicle Camping Ordinance Fundamentally Flawed

 Amendments Needed Immediately 
to Protect Residents

Los Angeles’s new vehicle dwelling ordinance (LAMC 85.02) is fundamentally flawed, failing to protect thousands of residents from the burden of car campers living on their front curb. 

"Venice Stakeholders has long asked for the City Council to adopt a new version of the car camping ban to protect residents,” said Mark Ryavec, president of Venice Stakeholders Association, a non-profit group committed to neighborhood safety.  

“Unfortunately, the new ordinance is flawed in both the drafting and in implementation,” Ryavec said.  

“The first problem is that the definition for “residential” is based on zoning, not on the actual existence of residences on a street,” Ryavec said.  “There are hundreds, if not thousands, of single and multiple-family residences on commercially zoned streets that under the new ordinance will have to host car camping on their front curbs.”  

“The ordinance also lacks a setback from residences where commercial zoning meets residential zoning,” the VSA leader said.  “So where these meet, car dwellers will still be able to park within a few feet of residences.”  

“Then there is the odd creation of a third category of restrictions – No Vehicle Dwelling Overnight 9 PM to 6 AM – which is not contained in the ordinance.  Marked on city maps in yellow, it will legally allow car camping during the day and evening in roughly one half of the city’s residentially zoned properties.  These streets will quickly turn into overnight car camping zones due to the shortage of police officers to enforce 85.02.”  

“We urge the city to immediately change all yellow striping to red and pass amendments to 85.02 to extend the ban on car camping at any time to within 100 feet of any property in a residential use,” Ryavec said.  

For further information see:

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Backward Policy for Hiring of City Workers

This is an alarming new City law.  While I subscribe to the notion that everyone deserves a second chance this new ordinance goes way too far.

"It will target for hire as City workers: (1) the homeless; (2) formerly incarcerated, including those on parole or probation; (3) "former" gang members; and (4) troubled and "disconnected"/fostered youth. 

These individuals will be recruited to replace the 46% of current City employees eligible for retirement within two years." 

Veterans are fifth on the list!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

MRSA Not the Only Public Health Risk for Homeless Campers, Teen Project Founder Says

Lauri Burns, the founder and president of The Teen Project in Venice, reports that antibiotic resistant bacteria are not the only health threat incubating in the homeless encampments along Venice Beach.

Image result for lauri burns teen project image
Lauri Burns and some of the young women her Teen Project has helped get off the street and off of drugs.
Alerted by the recent report by Lava-Mae of six – and possibly nine – apparent MRSA cases at 3rd and Rose, Ms. Burns called the VSA to tell of her own experience with insects carried by the population.

“I took a young homeless woman into my home for one night on an emergency basis and it resulted in an infection of sand mites that took over half a year to eradicate,” She said.

“Both I and my boyfriend received bites for months, which were very painful,” she said.

“We tented the house, we had exterminators back regularly, we washed the bedding every day,” she said, “but it still took a long time to eradicate the mites.”

“I don’t think the public understands that the unsanitary conditions in which these people are forced to live, and in very close proximity, are a very favorable breeding ground for disease and insects.”

“It’s a ticking time bomb and should drive more sanitation measures than we are currently seeing and quicker re-housing where the homeless can get away from these unsanitary conditions and get treated,” Burns said.  “The homeless people want a chance at life. They don't want to stay homeless.”

Burns, who was homeless herself as a young woman, notes that eradicating disease and infection is the first priority for her clients at FREEHAB, the free drug treatment facility for homeless young women that she opened in 2014 in Sun Valley.  Burns says the facility has hosted 442 women with a 90% success rate at getting them off drugs and keeping them off the street with both drug treatment and vocational training.