Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Venice Stakeholders Association files Amicus Brief in the matter of Boise v. Martin

Attorney Jeff Lewis has filed an Amicus Brief on behalf of Venice Stakeholders Association in the U.S. Supreme Court matter of Boise v. Martin pertaining to a “cruel and unusual punishment” challenge to the power of the government to address homeless camping on public property. 

A white paper discussion of the controversy prepared by the attorneys representing Boise is available here: https://www.gibsondunn.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Martin-v.-Boise-White-Paper.pdf 

Other amicus briefs filed by various third parties may be accessed here: https://www.supremecourt.gov/search.aspx?filename=/docket/DocketFiles/html/Public/19-247.html

You can read the VSA brief here:

https://veniceupdate.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/20190925133747131_Venice-Amicus-Petition-Sep-25-2019-EFile.pdf

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Save Venice Open Space



There is a crucial motion on the agenda of the VNC Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) tonight opposing the City’s plan to change the zoning of the Venice Median (the 3-acre parcel west of Dell and east of Pacific, between North Venice and South Venice) from OPEN SPACE to COMMERCIAL in the Los Angeles General Plan, Venice Community Plan, Certified Venice Local Coastal Program Land Use Plan, and Venice Local Coastal Specific Plan.

This proposed zone change will significantly increase the existing congestion at the primary entrance to Venice Beach and impair our ability to cope with sea level rise and natural disasters. The ONLY REASON for the proposed zone change is to pave the way for construction of a huge homeless shelter on this beach-adjacent property.

You can see this motion in the LUPC Agenda here. It is Item 9.A. starting on Page 3.

Please send a ONE-CLICK EMAIL letting members of LUPC know you oppose the zone change and, if at all possible, attend the meeting tonight to support the motion and LUPC Chair Alix Gucovsky:

Thursday, October 3 (Tomorrow night!)
Oakwood Recreation Center
767 California Avenue
Venice, California 90291
7 pm

 

Friday, August 23, 2019

VNC Process Overrides Common Sense and Public Safety


I have promised to keep my supporters informed about my service as a Community Officer on the Venice Neighborhood Council and this is the first in a series of occasional reports from the front-lines.

Early on I proposed the re-establishment of the VNC's Ad-Hoc Committee on Public Safety.  

Certainly the rash of assaults, break-ins, hot prowls, transient occupation of empty residences, bike thefts and chop shops, and shootings demands a stronger coordination between the VNC, residents, and the LAPD and other departments.  I wrote up the following mission statement and it was considered by the VNC Administrative Committee on July 8th.  (The "AdCom"committee must approve the creation of any AdHoc committees and their mission statement.)

The Public Safety Committee's mission is to work with Venice stakeholders- residents, school staff, and business owners - and the Los Angeles Police Department, the Department of Sanitation, the Department of Recreation and Parks and the Board of Public Works and its bureaus to prevent and reduce crime, promote clean public spaces, remove conditions that invite disease and vermin, and act as a liaison to city agencies to assure timely response to resident concerns. The committee's objective is to increase perceived and actual personal safety for residents and visitors alike.

Jim Murez opposed the wording of the statement.  He apparently thought it was too specific, so in committee I accepted some amendments to have the statement read as follows:


The Venice Neighborhood Council's Public Safety Committee's mission is to work with Venice stakeholders and city, county and state departments and agencies to reduce and prevent crime, promote clean public spaces, remove conditions that invite disease and vermin, and act as a liaison to government agencies to assure timely response to resident concerns. The committee's objective is to increase perceived and actual personal safety for residents and visitors alike.

So, then we voted on the new, amended version, which Jim had helped amend.  I and Melissa Diner and George Francisco voted yes and Hugh Harrison, Charles Rials and - oddly - Jim Murez voted against it.  (President Ira Koslow abstained and C.J. Cole was not present because the agenda mistakenly stated the start time as 7:30 and Mr. Koslow started the meeting at 7:00, which was a clear violation of the Brown Act, California's Open Public Meeting law.)

So on August 12th I brought back a slightly revised version which included "promoting fire safety," because the lack of that focus was mentioned at the meeting on July 8th as one of the shortcomings of the  original mission statement:
 

The Venice Neighborhood Council's Public Safety Committee's mission is to work with Venice stakeholders and city, county and state departments and agencies to reduce and prevent crime, promote fire safety, promote clean public spaces, remove conditions that invite disease and vermin, and act as a liaison to government agencies to assure timely response to resident concerns. The committee's objective is to increase perceived and actual personal safety for residents and visitors alike.


When the item came up on the 12th Mr. Koslow passed out a copy of the amended motion from July 8th and announced that the new version (above) was the same motion and reconsideration could only occur if it was requested in advance of the meeting by one of the members who had been on the winning side.

I pressed Mr. Koslow on his decision - since the mission statement before the committee was different than the one I had originally introduced on July 8th - and he told us that my mission statement, in either form, was "anti-homeless" and he was opposed to it.  Of course, there is no mention of the homeless in either version the committee considered.


I continue to believe that a VNC public safety committee is desperately needed in Venice.  If you agree, please send an email to president@venicenc.org and urge Mr. Koslow to establish a public safety committee of the VNC.


Monday, August 19, 2019

Support Installation of "Hardscaping" and Planter Boxes on City Parkways at VNC Meeting Tuesday Evening

Two Motions will be on the VNC Agenda this Tuesday evening that would promote the diversion of polluted rainwater away from the ocean and instead contain it on-site under city parkways.

Over the last several decades commercial property owners have paved over parkways, the space between sidewalks and curbs, to cut watering and gardening costs.  This stops the natural process of a rain's "first flush" from infiltrating the soil and instead results in rainwater running off the sidewalk and parkway, picking up pollutants and rushing to the ocean, where it contaminates the Santa Monica Bay.


These two motions would urge the City's Bureau of Engineering to quickly process applications for permits to saw-cut concrete parkways and create grade-level landscaping or install raised planter boxes, both to contain rainwater and allow it to infiltrate the ground.  (Recently the Bureau has taken literally years to process applications or refused to accept them.)


If you support this "green" retrofitting of parkways please write a note to Board@venicenc.org in support of items #13G and 13H and show up to support the Motions Tuesday evening at Westminster Elementary School at 6:30 PM.

 13G    Planting On Parkways ​(20 minutes)  MOTION:​ The Venice Neighborhood Council strongly urges the City’s Bureau of Engineering to support  and rule on all applications within 60 days for removal of concrete over parkways along city streets for  the planting of said parkways for the purpose of beautification​,​ rain infiltration and containment  Uploaded Documents: ​Download 1565065899.docx Recommended by Neighborhood Committee 8-0-1 on 7/24/19   

13H    Planter Boxes On Parkways  ​(20 minutes)   MOTION: ​The Venice Neighborhood Council strongly urges the City’s Bureau of Engineering to support  and rule on all applications within 60 days for removal of concrete over parkways along city streets for  the installation of planter boxes on parkways for the purpose of beautification, rain infiltration and  containment.  Uploaded Documents: ​Download 1565065899.docx Recommended by Neighborhood Committee 8-0-1 on 7/24/19

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Statement of Venice Stakeholders Association President on the City Council Move to Gut LA's "No Lying, Sitting or Sleeping on a Sidewalk" Ordinance

"The Motion by two City Council Members to ask the City Attorney to prepare language to gut the city's "No Sleeping on a Sidewalk" ordinance (41.18) is misguided and premature.

"Instead, the City Council should be instructing the City Attorney to prepare and file an Amicus brief supporting the City of Boise, ID, in its appeal of the ridiculous decision of the 9th Circuit Court in the Martin v. Boise case.

"The deadline for filing of initial briefs has been extended to September at the request of Los Angeles firm of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, which is representing Boise.  If the Supreme Court accepts the case, it is likely a decision will be rendered next spring, which suggests amending the ordinance is unnecessary at this time.

"Further, the 9th Circuit decision was extremely close and there is speculation that it is ripe for reversal by the Supreme Court.  The decision, which found that for any city to enforce a similar "no sleeping" ordinance the jurisdiction would have to have as many shelter beds available as it has homeless.  To meet this threshold Los Angeles would have to build 36,000 beds before it could enforce its "No Sleeping on a Sidewalk" ordinance.


"Based on the recent $60,000 construction cost per bed of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s first Bridge Housing project (El Pueblo), the city would have to spend $2,160,000,000 to provide temporary shelter beds for the entire 36,000 homeless population.  That is equivalent to one-fifth of the city’s 2019-20 budget – and does not include any operating costs. 
 
"Permanent, brick-and-mortar housing units, at the current average $525,000 cost per unit, would cost the city $19 billion.

"If the Martin decision is not overturned on appeal every jurisdiction in the nine western states under the 9th Circuit will lose any ability to control its streets, sidewalks and open space."

Mark Ryavec, President
310 871 6265

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Sunday, July 28, 2019

LAMC 85.02 - Support Reinstatement of the Car Camping Ban in Residential Neighborhoods

On Tuesday, the City Council will vote to reinstate the lapsed 85.02 ordinance, which prohibits living in a vehicle in residential neighborhoods or near parks or schools.  It lapsed recently so LAPD is no longer enforcing.

This weekend a massive email campaign went out from homeless advocates to the city council asking that it not be reinstated.

To combat this effort, we all need to comment.  It isn't sending an email.  It's simply commenting on the issue on the council's website.  These comments become public record.

It's agenda item 19 on Tuesday.  Go to this link:


Click on the NEW option and leave your comment.  It's really important to do this.  The Mayor has the final say in all this but we need to voice our support of reinstatement.
 
Suggested wording:  I urge the city council to reinstate LAMC 85.02 - the ban on living in vehicles near schools, parks or in residential neighborhoods.
 
If you want to read the wording on the agenda item, please see 14-1057-S8  (item 19) at http://ens.lacity.org/clk/councilagendas/clkcouncilagendas3133110_07302019.html


Monday, July 22, 2019

TELL THE VNC NEIGHBOR COMMITTEE YOUR VIEWS ON THESE TWO RESOLUTIONS WED. AT 7:30 AM

Two Important Resolutions are on the agenda of the VNC Neighborhood Committee this Wednesday at 7:30 AM at the community room at Extra Space Storage on Venice Boulevard.  Please show up and let the committee hear your thoughts.

The first calls on city bureaucrats to make it easy for residents to get permits to landscape parkways so they absorb rainfall and reduce pollution flowing to coastal waters.

The second would put the VNC on record asking the City Council to lobby to amend State law to give Venetians an unfettered chance to vote on Venice Cityhood.

Here are the resolutions:


Resolution for City of LA’s Bureau of Engineering to Support Planting of
Parkways and Installation of Planter Boxes

Whereas, urban runoff from gardens and hard surfaces is the #1 source of coastal pollution, and
Whereas, in that runoff are pollutants such as:
  • Synthetic fertilizers - increased nutrients leads to algal blooms and red tides, lowering dissolved oxygen levels enough to kill aquatic habitat and fisheries.
  • Pesticides, herbicides and fungicides - poison humans, marine life and soil biology.
  • Automobile engine oil and fluids, exhaust and brake pad dust as well as exhaust from utilities - poison marine life.
  • Bacteria - sicken humans and marine life, and can close beaches.
  • Sediment (soil) - this finer material can be laced with heavy metals, and too much causes turbidity – in which water loses its transparency due to the presence of suspended particulates.
Whereas, the first one-inch of rain after a dry spell is called the "first flush," and contains most of the pollutants during a rainstorm, and
Whereas, traditional building codes have directed rainwater off property to prevent flooding of a site, but this runoff rushes the above pollutants immediately to the ocean, and
Whereas, many property owners, in an effort to lower gardening and water costs, have paved over their parkways, the land between the city’ sidewalk easement and the street curb, and
Whereas, un-paving and planting parkways, and/or installation of large planter boxes, which act as sponges, can contain a significant percentage of “first flush” rain, and
Whereas, it should be the policy of the City of Los Angeles to contain rainwater on-site to avoid this pollution and harm to the Santa Monica Bay, its marine life, and humans who recreate in the Bay;
Now, therefore be it resolved that the Venice Neighborhood Council strongly urges the City’s Bureau of Engineering to support and quickly approve all applications for removal of concrete over parkways along city streets, the planting of said parkways, and/or installation of planter boxes on parkways for the purpose of rain infiltration and containment.

Submitted by: Mark Ryavec, Community Officer, former State Legislative Director, American Oceans Campaign, and former Member, Board of Governors, Oceana; John Reed, Community Officer, Architect; and Venice residents: Alice Burston, Christopher Berger, Carlos Torres, Jared Levy and Karen Taylor, Michele Zebich-Knos, Eleanor O’Neil, Spike Beck, and Oliver Damavandi.



RESOLUTION

Whereas, Venice was an independent city when residents voted in 1926 to annex itself to the City of Los Angeles; and
Whereas, Venice residents deserve the right to consider reversing that decision free from the burden of it being rejected by other residents living in the rest of Los Angeles who have no stake in the welfare of Venice or its residents; and
Whereas, Venice residents desire the increased responsiveness of municipal government seen in smaller units of local government, such as our neighbors Santa Monica, Culver City, Malibu and West Hollywood; and
Whereas, Venice is not well served by a city government with only 15 council members for a population of almost four million residents;
Now, therefore be it resolved that the Venice Neighborhood Council formally requests the City of Los Angeles to sponsor and support State legislation to amend the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 to:
1.       Remove the City of Los Angeles’ right to cause the termination of a detachment request pending before a local area formation commission submitted by a former city* which earlier voted to join the City of Los Angeles, which now borders both another city and the Pacific Ocean, and does not contain within its borders a port; and further, to
2.      Amend that Act to remove the City of Los Angeles’ right to subject to a vote of all voters in the jurisdiction of the City of Los Angeles the detachment of a former city* now located within its borders which borders both another city and the Pacific Ocean, and does not contain within its borders a port.

Submitted by:  Mark Ryavec, Community Officer
                        Nick Antonicello, Chair, Venice Cityhood Ad Hoc Committee
C.J. Cole, Community Officer and Member, Venice Cityhood Ad Hoc Committee
                        Yolanda Gonzalez, Member, Venice Cityhood Ad Hoc Committee

*This is the legal definition of Venice for the purposes of legislation to differentiate it from other former cities, which are now incorporated in the City of Los Angeles.

See following for supporting material.

Cities in Los Angeles County with Populations
Comparable to or Less than Venice, CA

Venice                   40,885 (City of Los Angeles 2008 estimate)

Agoura Hills           20,330
Artesia                  16,522
Avalon                   3,728
Bell                       35,477
Beverly Hills           34,109
Calabasas              23,058
Claremont             34,926
City of Commerce  12,823
Cudahy                 23,805
Culver City            38,883
Duarte                  21,321
El Segundo            16,654
Hawaiian Gardens  14,254
Hermosa Beach     19,506
Hidden Hills           1,856
Industry                219
Irwindale               1,422
La Canada Flintridge  20,246
La Habra Heights   5,325
La Puente              39,816
La Verne                31,063
Lawndale               32,769
Lomita                   20,256
Malibu                   12,645
Manhattan Beach   35,135
Maywood               27,395
Monrovia               36,590
Palos Verdes Estates  13,438
Rolling Hills            1,860
Rolling Hills Estates   8,067
San Dimas             33,371
San Fernando        23,645
San Gabriel            39,718
San Marino            13,147
Santa Fe Springs   16,223
Sierra Madre          10,917
Signal Hill              11,016
South El Monte      20,116
South Pasadena     25,619
Temple City           35,558
Walnut                  29,172
West Hollywood     34,399
Westlake Village    8,270

(All figures 2010 U.S. Census except Venice)