Friday, April 30, 2021

More Venice Property Owners Give Fire Risk Notice to LA City, Citing Judge David Carter's Decision: "Fires are breaking out with distressing frequency."

On April 29 VSA's attorney Jeff Lewis issued another letter to city officials again noting the extreme fire risk inherent in the city's tolerance of transient camping near structures, pointing to Judge David Carter's sweeping order granting a preliminary injunction compelling the City to address the homeless issue in a meaningful way. 

Carter's order – which has inexplicably been appealed by the City – cited increased fire risk caused by the City’s inaction regarding housing the homeless. (LA Alliance for Human Rights v. Los Angeles, Case No. 2:20-cv02291, April 20, 2021 Order, pp. 51-52.) 

“Fires are breaking out with distressing frequency, threatening both housed and unhoused populations,” Carter wrote (Order, p. 51.) Judge Carter concluded that the “ever-worsening public health and safety emergency demands immediate, life-saving action.” (Order, p. 66.) 

Lewis wrote in the new letter, "To the extent that the City Attorney is advising the City that it may rely on statutory and common law immunities to continue to ignore this fire risk, I urge you to seek an updated legal opinion – in Closed Session – regarding the City’s potential liability in light of Judge Carter’s findings that the City is creating a fire risk that did not previously exist. 

Fire Damage at 129 Clubhouse Ave.


"Moreover, to the extent that the City’s appeal of Judge Carter’s order will perpetuate the failed policies regarding the homeless and fire risk to my clients, we ask that you reconsider that decision to appeal and consider whether working with LA Alliance for Human Rights might be a better use of the City’s resources and taxpayer funds."

Ten property owners representing 22 Venice properties, most along or near the Boardwalk, have now joined the effort to call for the city to adopt buffer zones between transient encampments and structures to avoid more tragedies in the future from fires.

(Photo credit: Venice Current)

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Please Help Our Neighbors in Presidents Row Stop the Next Bridge Housing Project at the Ramada Inn

The city has purchased the Ramada Inn on Washington Blvd. near Lincoln and intends to use it as another transitional housing facility; that is, another Bridge Housing center, and we have seen what a disaster that has been for its neighbors.  

So far the city has been unwilling to adopt reasonable conditions on the project to protect residential and commercial neighbors.  And the project is a serious misuse of limited shelter dollars; twice as many motel rooms could have been purchased at an inland site.

The City has scheduled an appeal hearing on the Venice Ramada Inn Homeless Shelter for Wednesday, April 14 at 10:00 a.m.  The Board of Public Works will hear the appeal.  


The City is requesting that the Board of Public Works deny our neighbors' appeal.  We want the Board to grant the appeal.  The agenda for the meeting can be located here: 


Please help stop this project


1.           Submit your written comments and tell the Board the residents appeal should be granted.  Comments must be submitted before 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday.  Please fill out the form at this link:


              Where the form asks for the “Item No.” – Enter “2”

              Where the form asks if you are “For” or “Against” the item, click “Against” (meaning you are against the Board denying our appeal).


              In the “Comments” section, start your comments by saying:  “This appeal should be granted.”  Then, give a few reasons why you oppose this shelter project, such as:

·       Detrimental impact on beach access, recreation, and tourism

·       Detrimental impact on local neighbors and businesses

·       Public safety concerns , i.e., crime and encampments like at Venice Bridge Housing)

·       City’s failure to include reasonable conditions in the permit to protect the community


2.           Please participate in this meeting.  You can participate in the meeting by dialing in through your phone:  +1 669 254 5252 and use Meeting ID No. 161 637 1032.  Press # again when prompted for participant ID.  There will be a brief period permitted for public comments where people attending by phone will be allowed to speak.  Please dial in a few minutes early to receive instructions from the Board Secretary on how the hearing and public comment will be handled.


At the beginning of the meeting, the Board Secretary will ask, “Who Supports Granting The Appeal?”  We need you to indicate than you support our appeal being granted (which means that you oppose this project).  Even if you can’t stay for the entire meeting, it will help to be there in beginning to let them know you support our efforts!


You can watch the meeting through this link:


3.           Please speak during public comments.  When the Board Secretary asks who wants to speak during public comments, please indicate that you want to do so.  The Board will allow up to 20 minutes for people who oppose the project and support our appeal to speak.  Please use your time to briefly comment on the following:

·       Detrimental impact on beach access, recreation, or tourism; or

·       Detrimental impact on local neighbors and businesses; or

·       Public safety concerns (i.e., crime and encampments at Venice Bridge House); or

·       City’s failure to include reasonable conditions in the permit to protect the neighborhood; or

·       A better use of scarce shelter dollars could be made by buying more motel units inland instead of this building.


Thursday, April 8, 2021

It's Time to Apply for Your Mail-in Ballot for the Venice Neighborhood Council Election on June 8th

The Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) along with LA’s 98 other Neighborhood Councils, form the grassroots level of the City’s government. While Venice NC board members serve their communities without pay, they are public officials elected by the stakeholders of their community.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year’s NC elections will be conducted by the Los Angeles City Clerk entirely as “Vote-by-Mail."

Click on this link, download the PDF, print it out and send it in to get your ballot:

 2021_VBM_Application_ENG_v1.pdf (


Saturday, April 3, 2021

New Video Documents the Destruction of Venice Beach

A group of Venice beach activists has just released a scathing video documenting the destruction of Venice Beach under the failed tenure of Councilman Mike Bonin.

As you will see, Venice benefits from having residents with extensive entertainment industry skills.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Boardwalk Owners and VSA Issue Liability Warning to City of LA for Allowing Transients' Tents - and Fires - Next to Buildings

Venice Boardwalk property owners and the Venice Stakeholders Association today issued a warning to the City of Los Angeles for its "extreme negligence" and the liability it faces in allowing hundreds of tents to stand next to or within mere feet of fire-vulnerable structures along Ocean Front Walk and elsewhere in Venice.

In the letter, Attorney Jeff Lewis wrote that "the recent fire at 723 Ocean Front Walk on January 13, 2021, which destroyed a large office building and threatened an adjacent apartment building and single-family residences, revealed in the clearest terms that the Los Angeles Fire Department is not in some instances capable of suppressing major fires in Venice to prevent property destruction and, by logical extension, prevent loss of life or serious injury to inhabitants of structures in Venice."

Hampton Avenue Encampment Fire

Lewis, noting the $400,000 settlement against the City of Oakland for the Ghost Ship fire, said in the letter, "a municipality may be held liable for nuisance conditions that it has created."

In the Ghost Ship fire, Oakland faced allegations that it was aware of an ongoing and constant danger of fire yet failed to protect residents from a foreseeable risk of harm, injuries or death.

Lewis also noted "that in 2018, the City of Los Angeles paid $14 million to settle litigation arising from the City’s failure to erect sufficient barriers to protect pedestrians from cars. In 2013, a driver, Nathan Campbell, killed a young Italian woman and injured many others."

"The potential loss of property and life presented by transient-caused fires is much greater and more foreseeable than the danger of cars on the Boardwalk that led to the $14 million settlement."

Recent Sunset Avenue Encampment Fire
The letter includes a list of over 20 transient-involved fires in Venice spanning the last two and a half years.

Also included in the letter is a recent Resolution of the Venice Neighborhood Council calling for "the Los Angeles Fire Department to conduct an immediate study of the fire hazard posed to structures in Venice by encampments and to issue orders for those encampments that pose a fire threat to be removed from proximity to those structures and fire access lanes."

Mark Ryavec, president of the VSA, said "the reality of the LAFD's inability to put out all fires in a timely manner, and the immediate threat this poses to residential structures, caused our organization to reach out to property owners to put the city on notice for allowing these conditions - which if not mitigated - will eventually kill or maim residents."

The entire letter is available on request to: