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.